Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had the 60 Minutes gang agog on Sunday night’s program when he surprise-announced Amazon’s plan to build an army of delivery drones that will drop purchases at your doorstep within 30 minutes. Here’s anchor Charlie Rose and the 60 Minutes production crew peeling back the curtain on their delight at the news of our robot delivery future (AKA “Amazon Prime Air”), which Bezos says is just 4 or 5 years away:
The e-retailer’s stock is poised to hit a 52-week high tomorrow based on post-market trading +5.2%. Amazon says it had a net loss of $41M in Q3, an 85% improvement from the period last year, on revenues of $17.09B, …
The device, code-named “Cinnamon,” would make it easy for users to stream Amazon Prime videos to their TV sets — and could handle apps and content including music and games from other Web services — the Wall Street Journal …
I’ve written about all three pilots, which were quietly picked up over the past couple of months, and Jill Soloway’s Transparent already has been shot, but Amazon is making its announcements on its own timetable and has chosen to unveil its latest three comedy pilot orders now. They include Mozart In The Jungle, written by Roman Coppola (The Darjeeling Limited), Jason Schwartzman (Moonrise Kingdom) and Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher); The Outlaws, written by Jeremy Garelick (The Break-Up) and Jon Weinbach; and Transparent, written and directed by Soloway (Six Feet Under) and starring Jeffrey Tambor. Like with Amazon’s original batch of pilots, the three will be available to Amazon customers for feedback in early 2014. On the drama side, Amazon has pilots Bosch and Chris Carter’s The After, which also have not been officially announced. Here are descriptions of Amazon’s three comedy pilots:
I’ll believe it when I see it. Still, former Wall Street Journal tech journalists Amir Efrati and Jessica Lessin have a lot of people wondering about the possibility this afternoon with a report that the e-retail giant is “considering” just such an offering, citing “people familiar with Amazon’s effort”. They note that the talk involves a phone that consumers could order directly from Amazon without having to sign a multiyear contract with a service provider that would subsidize the device. How would Amazon recoup the $200 or so cost to make the smartphone? The article acknowledges that this is one of many “unanswered questions about the plan and what strings will be attached.” The writers say that Amazon could offer the device to people who pay $79 a year for Amazon Prime, which includes free shipping for some products and access to the company’s video streaming service. They also speculate that Amazon could sell ads and steer smartphone owners “to shop for goods through Amazon.com and to purchase digital media and apps through its app store”.
The Graham family has controlled the iconic newspaper since the 1930s, including at its height in the mid 1970s when Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s coverage of the Watergate scandal helped to topple President Richard Nixon. But that ends with the deal today: Jeff Bezos has agreed to pay $250M for The Washington Post and other newspapers owned by its parent company, but not related properties Slate magazine, TheRoot.com and Foreign Policy. Bezos also is not buying the Post–Newsweek TV Stations and Cable ONE; they will stay with the Washington Post Co., which will change its name.
“I understand the critical role the Post plays in Washington, DC and our nation, and the Post’s values will not change,” Bezos says. “Our duty to readers will continue to be the heart of the Post, and I am very optimistic about the future.” He has asked CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth, General Manager Stephen Hills, Executive Editor Martin Baron, and Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt to remain in their positions. The release emphasizes that Bezos is buying the papers “in his individual capacity,” not to be part of Amazon. “The Post could have survived under the [Washington Post] company’s ownership and been profitable for the foreseeable future,” CEO Donald Graham told his paper. “But we wanted to do more than survive. I’m not saying this guarantees success but it gives us a much greater chance of success.” In a letter to readers Weymouth said that the decision to sell was made “with a heavy heart,” but adds that Bezos “will continue the tradition that the Graham family started” to offer “tough, penetrating, insightful, and indispensable journalism.”
The e-retail giant made a lot of great-sounding entertainment deals over the last few months including agreements to stream shows from Viacom, NBCUniversal, and PBS — and to greenlight original shows that it will begin to offer later this year. …
The agreement provides Amazon with “hundreds of TV shows and thousands of TV episodes” including “a collection of TV shows that customers won’t find on any other digital video subscription service,” the companies say. But it’s especially interesting because it comes days after Viacom’s streaming carriage agreement with Netflix expired. Although execs said last week that they’re still negotiating, Netflix made it clear that it now favors deals that would give it exclusive access to programming. “We valued [Viacom's] content for sure, we just disagreed about the value of the content,” Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told investors at the Nomura U.S. Media & Telecom Summit. “We’re into a whole new space about what people are watching and what it’s worth.” But Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman told the same gathering that he doesn’t want to be tied down. “There isn’t a player or potential player doesn’t come by our door and we work with all of them.” Streaming, he added, “is a continuing good overall opportunity for us and any growth opportunity for us.” Viacom shares are up about 2% in early trading. Here’s today’s release:
SEATTLE—(NASDAQ: AMZN)—May 22, 2013—Today, Amazon Publishing announces Kindle Worlds, the first commercial publishing platform that will enable any writer to create fan fiction based on a range of original stories and characters and earn royalties for doing so. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment division for its New York Times best-selling book series Gossip Girl, by Cecily von Ziegesar; Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard; and Vampire Diaries, by L.J. Smith; and plans to announce more licenses soon. Through these licenses, Kindle Worlds will allow any writer to publish authorized stories inspired by these popular Worlds and make them available for readers to purchase in the Kindle Store.
CW’s ‘Amazon’ Pilot Redeveloped With New Writer, Net Eyes ‘The 100′ & ‘Carrie Diaries’ For Limited Run, Mulls Return To Comedy
She may rise again. The Wonder Woman origin drama Amazon is in active redevelopment at the CW. The project was originally written by Allan Heinberg last season. Despite doing some preliminary casting on the lead while the script was still being written, the network ultimately didn’t give it a pilot order, instead rolling it to off-season. A new writer, Heroes alum Aron Eli Coleite, was brought in. Now “we’re waiting for the script to come in,” CW president Mark Pedowitz said following the network’s upfront presentation today. “We do not want to produce something that doesn’t work for that character. It is the trickiest of DC characters to get done.” If the network likes the script, the project will be ordered as an off-cycle pilot. As for The Selection, it is “unlikely” the property will be re-visited again after two failed pilots, the second of which came close to a series pickup, CW brass said.
Related: CW New Series First Looks: Video
The numbers are mixed but encouraging enough to lift Amazon shares about 1.4% in after-market trading. The e-retailer generated $82M in net income, -36.9% vs the period last year, on revenues of $16.1B, +21.9%. Analysts expected revenues to …
Distributor Sony Pictures Home Entertainment isn’t talking yet. But the basic story is right there on Amazon: It’s taking pre-orders for the first season of the 13-episode series produced by Media Rights Capital and starring Kevin Spacey that …
‘The Good Wife’ Off-Network Rights Sell To Amazon, Hulu, Hallmark Channel, Broadcast Syndication For Nearly $2M An Episode
In an arrangement that reflects the changing off-network options for serialized dramas, CBS’ The Good Wife has been sold in a complex multi-window deal that involves two streaming partners, Amazon and Hulu; a basic cable network, Hallmark Channel; and broadcast syndication, for what I hear is a combined license fee of nearly $2 million per episode. “This is an off-network model for a unique serialized show in today’s television ecosystem,” said Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corp.
Under the deal, the first three seasons of The Good Wife will become available on Amazon Prime tomorrow, with the current Season 4 coming later this year. Hulu Plus will roll out previous seasons of the show in September 2013, while Hallmark Channel will begin airing The Good Wife in January 2014. A weekend broadcast syndication run is scheduled to begin in September 2014, with the series sold in 85% of the country, including the CBS O&Os, in a barter deal.
SEATTLE–Feb. 28, 2013– (NASDAQ: AMZN) – Amazon.com, Inc. today announced a content licensing agreement with Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (NYSE: SNI) that will make Prime Instant Video a subscription home to hundreds of episodes from past seasons of hit TV shows from the Scripps family of brands: HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Travel Channel.
On the heels of CBS closing a deal with Amazon for summer series Under The Dome, whose episodes will be available on the streaming service four days after their premiere, the two companies today announced …
The pact was built into CBS‘ decision to greenlight the serialized drama from Steven Spielberg and Stephen King based on King’s novel for next summer. It establishes an in-season, online subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD) window for the show on Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service, which will become the exclusive online subscription home for Under The Dome.
Amazon Prime members will have unlimited streaming of all the series’ episodes four days after their initial broadcast on CBS. The unusual deal helps CBS offset the cost and was key for picking up an elaborate serialized drama for the off-season. There had been speculation that Under The Dome would be made available on Amazon after 24 episodes had aired. But Scott Koondel, Chief Corporate Content Licensing Officer for CBS Corp., explains the rationale behind the window’s length. “With this innovative agreement, we’re giving fans more options to watch and stay current with this serialized series, and doing so in a way that protects the Television Network’s C3 advertising window,” he said.
EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Studios continues to ramp up its original slate. I hear the original movie and series production arm of Amazon.com is finalizing a deal for a pilot order to comedy Betas, produced by feature producer Michael London (Sideways) via Groundswell Prods. The company also has been hammering out a license fee deal with Sony Pictures TV for Zombieland, a comedy pilot based on the 2009 movie, which is already actively casting. They would join the six comedy pilots Amazon Studios announced in December, which are in various stages of production and have attracted talent of the caliber of John Goodman and Bebe Neuwirth. The company yesterday gave the green light for five children’s pilots.