Amazon to offer movie streaming service: report

Feb 02, 2011
US online retail giant Amazon plans to offer a movie streaming service that would compete directly with Netflix, Britain's Financial Times has reported. The Seattle, Washington-based Amazon is planning to bundle access to the movie service with Amazon Prime, which costs $79 a year and gives Amazon customers unlimited free shipping of books and other items, the FT said.

US online retail giant Amazon plans to offer a movie streaming service that would compete directly with Netflix, Britain's Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

The Seattle, Washington-based Amazon is planning to bundle access to the movie service with Amazon Prime, which costs $79 a year and gives Amazon customers unlimited free shipping of books and other items, the FT said.

The FT's report came after technology blog Engadget briefly published a screenshot of a promotion for the upcoming service.

"Your Amazon Prime membership now includes unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of 5,000 movies and TV shows at no additional cost," it said.

Amazon already offers online movies for rent or purchase as part of its service but not digital subscriptions offering unlimited streaming like for a flat monthly fee.

"Amazon is switching focus away from the rental business in favour of the which connects far better with its core, online retailing profit centre," Arash Amel, research director at media consultancy IHS Screen Digest told the FT.

"This is about keeping consumers in the Amazon environment while providing extra value -- providing subscription video is a far better way to do that than by selling digital downloads (of movies)," Amel said.

The report of Amazon's plans to offer an unlimited comes after the company completed its acquisition of British-based movie and games rental service Lovefilm.

LoveFilm, which has been compared to Netflix, has become one of Europe's top movie subscription services over the past seven years.

The LoveFilm site boasts 1.4 million members across Europe and, like Netflix, offers DVD rental by post and online movie streaming direct to computers, Internet-enabled televisions and other devices.

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User comments : 11

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GSwift7
not rated yet Feb 02, 2011
With Netflix already so saturated in the market, it will be hard for Amazon to catch up. You can get Netflix on so many platforms already. In my entertainment system I have 5 ways to use netflix:
1) My TV is web enabled and has a Netflix ap.
2) My BD player is web enabled and has Netflix.
3) My Xbox360 has Netflix
4) I have a PC hooked up to the HD tv which of course can get netflix
5) I can plug in a mail-order hard copy disk.

Or I can watch it on my phone.

Of course Google TV could change everything. Amazon may take a small share of the growing market but I don't think Netflix is going to worry much.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2011
You forget one key point in Amazon's favor against netflix.

They already own the rights to all produced movies through their DVD sales contracts. They won't be subject to the delay period imposed on Netflix by several producers.
GSwift7
not rated yet Feb 02, 2011
I'm sure that Amazon will have almost exactly the same constraints on streamed content that Netflix has. Those constraints are mainly due to exclusivity contracts with cable and satellite providers. There's a premium fee for getting first run rights on certain movies. The movie studios aren't going to give up that cash cow.

Notice the quantity of Amazon streamed movies is also comparable to the Netflix quantity of streamed content, though it looks like Amazon is planning to host more than Netflix. If Amazon is able to get better quality movies for streaming than Netflix, that could tip the scales though.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Feb 02, 2011
There's a premium fee for getting first run rights on certain movies. The movie studios aren't going to give up that cash cow.
Media distribution is media distribution. Amazon already has those premier rights to be able to ship movies so they arrive in homes on the street date.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2011
On a side note: Amazon is opening a new facility just up the road from me, here in South Carolina. They will hire a lot of people, but as one of the conditions for picking the site, they demanded that the county repeal the blue laws. Huray!!! They just repealed them a couple weeks ago, practically overnight, after Amazon made the request. We had a ban on Sunday alcohol sales as well as a stupid law that you can't sell anything but food and gas before 1:30 PM on Sunday. Yes, we are finally out of the Stome Age. I spoke to a guy from Outback Steakhouse Corporate a few months ago at a Chamber of Commerce meet and greet. He said they wouldn't open a store here with the blue laws either. He said "think about it; you're taking away 52 days of the year of drink sales revenue. That's nearly 10% of my anual revenue." Ouch.
GSwift7
not rated yet Feb 02, 2011
Media distribution is media distribution. Amazon already has those premier rights to be able to ship movies so they arrive in homes on the street date.


That's not true. Digital distribution is completely different from hard copy sales and rental. It's an entirely different revenue structure with a completely seperate agreement between the content provider and the distributor. For example, the movies that Netflix can stream are far more limited than the ones they can rent. They would host more for streaming if they could.
GSwift7
not rated yet Feb 02, 2011
Personally, I think Netflix should make a partnership with IMDB dot com. It would be really cool if they could fuse the two services together. It would be a major win for both of them if you could seamlessly add movies to your Netflix queue or stream them from the IMDB site or bring up the IMDB info on a movie from the Netflix site. Those two services are practically made for eachother. Of course there's a link to buy stuff at Amazon, but I'm thinking it would be cool if you could log into one site and fill in your info from the other site and then have the rest be automatic.
p0l4r21
not rated yet Feb 02, 2011
One problem with your IMDB idea, IMDB already links you to either stream it from Amazon or buy it.
p0l4r21
not rated yet Feb 02, 2011
One more thing Amazon offers on demand service I think that may tie in what Skeptic Heretic is saying. They have the rights to these movies and I believe they will get them quicker than Netflix and for that matter quicker than all the companies trying to get into the Netflix market offering them a month before. The key to Amazon's success will lie in how the On Demand service translates to the streaming of these videos. I think Amazon has a big foot in the door and should have no trouble getting what it wants to get the job done.
PS3
not rated yet Feb 02, 2011
VUDU is better.It has rotten tomatoes and wiki integration.
GSwift7
not rated yet Feb 03, 2011
One problem with your IMDB idea, IMDB already links you to either stream it from Amazon or buy it


Well, I'm just saying Netflix because they are already in the market. If Amazon gets to the same level of market penetration, then use them. My point is that I see a potential fusion of information and service that could benefit both the video provider and IMDB in a way that the Amazon/IMDB partnership isn't quite achieving.