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Amazon Prime Video Opens Door to Global Standalone Service

27 Oct, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

CFO Brian Olsavsky hints worldwide rights to original content affords streaming service greater distribution opportunities

With Netflix streaming video globally, Amazon Prime Video is available in just four countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan, with service slated to bow soon in India.

On an Oct. 27 fiscal call, CFO Brian Olsavsky was asked if Amazon would consider operating Prime Video as a standalone service outside of aforementioned countries offering Prime membership service.

Without answering directly, Olsavsky said content being created through Amazon Studios generally includes worldwide rights that can be used — and amortized — in those other (non-Prime) countries.

Amazon in April announced it was making Prime Video available domestically as a standalone option for $8.99 — the same price as Netflix’s entry-level plan.

“Yes, we consider [those rights] to be very valuable versus licensing, many times by country, the third-party rights to content we don’t create ourselves,” Olsavsky said.

Indeed, Prime video content, and associated marketing costs, has nearly doubled year-over-year, with significant increases continuing in Q3 and Q4.

New original series “Goliath,” from David E. Kelley and starring Billy Bob Thornton and William Hurt, was advertised on Fox during Game 1 of the World Series between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs.

Other new original series include the third season of award-winning “Transparent,” and launches of “One Mississippi,” “Fleabag” and Woody Allen’s first TV series, “Crisis in Six Scenes.”

Amazon Studios released Gleason, The Dressmaker, The Handmaiden and Author: The JT LeRoy Story in theaters nationwide. Each film will be available to Prime Video following its theatrical release.

Other original content includes the theatrical debut of Manchester by the Sea, a Sundance and Toronto Film Festival favorite, as well as Prime Video premieres of the second season of “The Man in the High Castle”; launch of “The Grand Tour”; a new car show with ex-“Top Gear” hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May; and “Mozart in the Jungle,” the third season of the multi-Golden Globe winning show.

“What you’re seeing essentially in the second half of this year is a step-up in investment, primarily around digital content and fulfillment centers,” Olsavsky said.

Indeed, Amazon is opening 26 fulfillment centers (for order processing) in the U.S., the largest expansion since 2012.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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