Amazon on Wednesday announced that it has reached a licensing agreement with Paramount Pictures that will enable Prime Instant Video customers in the U.S. to stream hundreds of new hit movies over the next three years. The service, which is available for $79 a year and offers customers free two-day shipping, now features more than 17,000 movies and TV episodes. “We are continuing to invest in building a vast selection for Prime Instant Video and are excited to bring Prime customers some of the most renowned and popular films in cinema history under this new agreement with Paramount,” said Brad Beale, director of digital video content acquisition for Amazon. “This deal will bring Prime Instant Video customers hundreds of new movies to enjoy on their Kindle Fire or any device connected to Amazon Instant Video, including titles such as Star Trek, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Top Gun, The Italian Job and The Truman Show, and we will remain committed to adding even more great movies and TV shows to Prime Instant Video in the future.” Amazon’s press release follows below. More →
Online retail giant Amazon is said to be stretching the truth regarding the size of its streaming content library when reporting numbers to the public. According to a report from Fast Company, the “17,000 movies and television shows” Amazon claims to offer Amazon Prime customers is inflated by roughly 10 times. Amazon Prime members have free, unlimited access to Amazon’s streaming content catalog, which can be viewed using a number of devices including a Roku set-top box and Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet. Rather than counting a TV series toward the total content tally Amazon claims its users have access to, Amazon counts each individual episode of a TV show toward that 17,000-title total. So, for example, Fox’s “24” counts not once but 192 times, and various versions of the “Power Rangers” show add 715 shows to Amazon’s catalog. The actual size of Amazon’s library? 1,745 movies and 150 television series. Netflix, which has been said to have a catalog of 60,000 streaming titles, actually has approximately 13,000 different titles including 9,500 movies and 3,500 TV series, the report claims.
Online movie streaming in the United States is expected to top both DVD and Blu-ray use for the first time ever in 2012, according to a study from IHS Screen Digest. The study suggests that in 2012, Americans will legally stream 3.4 billion movies online — twice the 1.4 billion streamed in 2011 — while DVD and Blu-ray movies watching this year will to 2.4 billion from 2.6 billion in 2011. Last year, the unlimited-streaming services offered by Netflix and Amazon Prime accounted for 94% of all paid online movie viewing in the U.S. Additionally, consumers paid an average of $0.51 for every movie streamed online, compared to $4.72 for DVD and Blu-ray discs. “We are looking at the beginning of the end of the age of movies on physical media like DVD and Blu-ray,” IHS analyst Dan Cryan said. “But the transition is likely to take time: almost nine years after the launch of the iTunes Store, CDs are still a vital part of the music business.” More →
As Amazon continues to expand its business into new areas, the company reportedly plans to follow Netflix’s lead and introduce original TV content in the future. Rumors suggesting the Seattle-based retail giant was planning an entrance into the original programming game first surfaced last month, and now Forbes reports that a recent hire at Amazon reinforces earlier reports. Joe Lewis, formerly with Comedy Central and 20th Century Fox, briefly listed his new job title as “Vice-President of Original TV at Amazon” until Fortune contacted him for comment on Tuesday. The executive then promptly changed his title to “Vice-President, Production at Amazon Studios.” No other information about Lewis’s role at Amazon or Amazon’s possible original programming efforts were made available. Streaming video rival Netflix released season 1 of its first original series “Lilyhammer” last month, and it has at least two other series — new original seasons of “Arrested Development” and “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey — in the works. More →
Amazon on Wednesday announced that it has entered into a new agreement with Viacom to provide a larger selection of television content to its Kindle Fire and Amazon Prime customers. Under the deal, Amazon’s customers will have access to episodes of The Real World, Chapelle’s Show and the The Sarah Silverman Program from Comedy Central, as well as a number of hit shows from Nickelodeon. “This deal with Viacom brings Prime customers and Kindle Fire users thousands of comedies, kids’ shows, reality TV and much more from some of the best cable networks available,” Amazon’s director of video content acquisition Brad Beale said. “We now offer more than 15,000 movies and TV shows in Prime Instant Videos and are working hard to add even more great content.” Amazon’s full press release follows after the break. More →
Google is reportedly in talks with retailers in an effort to create a subscription-based expedited delivery service that will compete directly with Amazon Prime. Citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that Google has contacted a number of retailers in an effort to provide unlimited speedy deliveries to members who pay an annual fee. Among the retailers Google has reportedly contacted about the service are Gap, OfficeMax and Macy’s. “They’ve approached us with the idea, but we haven’t made any decisions,” a Macy’s spokesman told The Journal, seemingly confirming the report. Google plans to integrate the service into its search engine to an extent, but the system would also feature some amount of integration on partner sites. According to the report, Google plans to pilot the service in San Francisco ahead of a full launch, which the company hopes will take place some time next year. More →
Amazon has been a leader in the eBook reader space since it first introduced the Kindle eReader in November 2007. At that point in time, the Kindle had a 6-inch E Ink display that supported just four shades of gray, it included 250MB of storage that could accommodate about 200 eBooks, and it retailed for $399. For the first six months or so, Amazon couldn’t keep the device in stock — it was a smash hit.
Just ahead of the release of Amazon’s highly anticipated Kindle Fire tablet, the company has added a new perk for Amazon Prime subscribers that could be the icing on the cake for future Fire owners. Beginning immediately, all Kindle eBook readers and the Kindle Fire tablet will have access to what Amazon has dubbed Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, a stash of thousands of books that may be “borrowed” indefinitely for free. Users may borrow one title per month, and the list of available books currently includes more than 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers. “Owning a Kindle just got even better. Today, we’re introducing a new Prime benefit built for Kindle: The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “Prime Members now have exclusive access to a huge library of books to read on any Kindle device at no additional cost and with no due dates.” BGR went hands-on with the Kindle Fire during Amazon’s press conference, and we can definitely see the retail giant making a dent in the tablet market quickly with this $199 offering, which launches on November 15th. The plethora of value-added services available on the device for Prime members will only improve the slate’s odds in a crowded market currently dominated by Apple. Some analysts believe Amazon could sell as many as 5 million tablets during the fourth quarter alone. Amazon’s Lending Library press release follows below. More →
Amazon and CBS have reached a licensing deal in which CBS will provide Amazon Prime subscribers with access to its television shows.The deal will add 2,000 TV episodes from popular shows such as The Tudors, Medium, Frasier, Cheers, Numb3rs, and the full Star Trek franchise to the Amazon Prime library, which already has more than 8,000 movies and TV shows. Amazon expects the content to be available during this summer and it confirmed that its Instant Video customers will also have access to the library. Read on for the full press release. More →
According to an unconfirmed report in The Wall Street Journal Monday, Amazon.com is in the early stages of developing a subscription streaming service that will compete with Netflix’s “Watch Instantly.” Citing anonymous sources, WSJ reports that the service will look to undercut Netflix’s offering, though no other points of differentiation were mentioned.
Amazon.com Inc. is developing a Netflix-like subscription service that would offer TV shows and movies, according to people familiar with the matter. That service would be included as a bundle with its Amazon Prime shipping service, which costs $79 a year, those people said.
Amazon Prime gives members free two-day shipping on all Amazon.com orders. It also offers overnight shipping for $3.99 per item. Lumping in streaming movies and TV shows for free with this unrelated service would be a peculiar move at best, though it would mirror Netflix’s original strategy, in a way. Though the company recently launched a streaming-only plan for $7.99 per month, Netflix first introduced Watch Instantly as a free add-on for its DVDs-by-mail service. At $79 per year, Amazon.com’s service would be $17 less expensive per year than Netflix’s least expensive streaming package. More →