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Amazon Ups Netflix Romance

6 Sep, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Erstwhile SVOD competitors co-market Fire TV upgrades

If Amazon is concerned about Netflix, HBO Go or HBO Now encroaching upon Prime Video, the e-commerce behemoth has a strange way of dealing with it.

In a Sept. 6 announcement regarding a free software upgrade enabling Fire TV and Fire Stick users to voice content searches, Amazon partnered with Netflix. Specifically, Amazon says the Alexa voice-activated software eliminates obstacles for users to access content — regardless of the source, including Netflix.

“We’re making it easier than ever for customers to find their favorite content with universal voice search across 75 apps and channels, and a new, simple way to see recommendations from Netflix, HBO Go and HBO Now right on the home screen,” Marc Whitten, VP of Amazon Fire TV, said in a statement.

Indeed, on fiscal calls, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings downplayed competition with Amazon, HBO or Hulu, saying research indicated many Netflix subs also had memberships with competing SVOD services.

The voice app can search for content across myriad sources, granting users the option to purchase, rent, stream or download the content. Recommendations are displayed on the Fire TV home page.

The Alexa software enables users to voice “skip ahead two minutes,” “rewind 30 seconds” and “jump past the opening credits,” among other features.

“At Netflix, we are always seeking new ways to help connect people with stories they’ll love,” Scott Mirer, VP of device partner ecosystem at Netflix, said in a statement.

Users can also ask the software for score updates of their favorite team.

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