Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says “Amazon is the best competitor we’ve ever faced” — but he estimates his retail rival is losing between $500 million and $1 billion a year on its streaming content, according to a report on AllThingsD. Hastings says he bases those figures on the value of content deals Amazon won when the rivals competed head-to-head. To become a real threat, Hastings says Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will have to spend a lot more money. Netflix has said it plans to spend $2.1 billion on content over the next year. Amazon spokesman Andrew Herdener responded to Hastings’ remarks via email: “We don’t comment on our individual investments but it’s correct that Prime Instant Video is an amazing value for customers. Not only do Prime members get unlimited streaming video, but they also get free 2-day shipping and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library as well.” Last week broadband service company Sandvine pegged Netflix’s share of Internet traffic at 33% and Amazon’s at 1.8%. Netflix’s stock closed virtually unchanged today at $80.90 down 0.71%.
Hastings also responded to investor Carl Icahn, who recently acquired almost 10% of Netflix and contends the company should be acquired by a larger firm. “We think we can make it in the long term absolutely on our own — we’ve been doing that for 10 years,” Hastings says, noting that Netflix has long been the subject of takeover rumors. Hastings and Icahn met this week in New York but both declined to comment on the meeting. “There’s a basic philosophical difference here,” Icahn said Friday. “I believe the shareholders, the rightful owners of the company, should decide whether a company should be sold, not the management.”
It was down and down for Amazon with its Q3 results today, when the online retailer reported that it missed estimates for sales and earnings. Amazon reported $13.18 billion in revenue for Q3, up 27% from a year ago but lighter than the $13.93 billion expectation. Excluding the 37 cents-a-share loss related to the company’s investment in locally based discount site LivingSocial, Amazon lost 23 cents a share in the quarter, much worse than the consensus expectation of an 8 cent loss. Shares in the online and cloud giant fell as much as 9% in volatile after-hours trading — it currently sits at around -3% at $220.70 a share. Read More »
UPDATE, 11:10 AM: It’s official — there’s a new Kindle. It’s called Kindle Paper White, costs $119 and will ship October 1. At 9.1 millimeters and 7.5 ounces, it is very slender. “Thinner than a magazine, lighter than a paperback,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said as he announced the product in Santa Monica this morning. A higher-priced $179 Kindle Paper White has free 3G wireless. Both also have a bright light so you can read in the dark and it has eight weeks of battery life. It also has a timer that tracks individuals’ reading speed and can then tell them how long it will take them to finish a chapter or a book. A total of 180,000 books available on the Paper White are exclusive to Amazon, Bezos said.
The CEO today also unveiled the new Kindle Fire HD. The new 8.9-inch tablet is designed to be almost glare free, comes with dual speakers and advanced WiFi. With a few implied digs at the cost and limitations of Apple’s iPad, Bezos said the 32 GB and 4G wireless tablet will retail for $499 and ships November 20. “Is it a little bit more expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely,” he told the crowd.
Amazon shares touched an all-time high today of $252.27. With an hour to go before the market close, the shares are up around 1.8% — in line with the overall market. (The S&P 500 is higher than it’s been since May 2008.) Read More »
This means you don’t have to own a Kindle Fire to watch Amazon Instant Video movies and TV shows on a tablet — or use Netflix or the iTunes Store to watch studio fare on an iPad. Amazon says … Read More »
Warner Bros Home Entertainment filed 16 separate copyright infringement lawsuits (read two of them here and here) this week against vendors who sell “counterfeit product” DVDs on Amazon Marketplace. From the Harry Potter movies to TV series like The Wire, The Sorpranos, Game of Thrones, One Tree Hill, and Hung, the company alleges “the Defendants have distributed, advertised and/or sold and continue to copy, reproduce, distribute, advertise and/or sell unauthorized copies of motion pictures owned by Warner Bros.” Amazon is not listed as a defendant in any of the nearly identical actions. Read More »
The e-retailer says it has agreements with just about every major music provider — including Sony, EMI, Universal, and Warner — giving it the right to offer streamed versions of songs found on a customer’s hard drive. … Read More »
Exhibition companies hate it when studios encourage people to spend time in their living rooms instead of the local movie house. But theater owners look at things a little differently when they’re the ones producing the entertainment. Case in … Read More »
With a view to enabling Amazon customers worldwide to watch online content wherever, whenever and however they want, the company has announced the creation of a new London design and development hub. Amazon will put teams from its subscription movie service, Lovefilm, and its interactive TV agency, Pushbutton, under one roof where they will create new interactive digital services for TVs, game consoles, smartphones and PCs. The Digital Media Development Center, according to managing director Paula Byrne, will “develop the next generation of TV and film services for a wide range of digital devices.” She further told Bloomberg that the goal is to ensure “every single person who is an Amazon customer wolrdwide is able to get to watch content where and when they want it, on the device they want it and to a very good standard.” The software developers and engineers who’ll be stationed at the new center previously worked on Lovefilm Instant, a service that provides members with unlimited streaming on over 280 internet-enabled devices. Read More »
LoveFilm raises the stakes this morning in its battle with Netflix to dominate the UK streaming market. The Amazon-owned service says it has an exclusive multiyear license with NBCUniversal International Television Distribution for Universal Studios titles in the second pay … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: It’s been three months since ABC aired the last episode of Pan Am and almost two weeks since the network officially canceled the freshman series. But the 1960s drama is not dead, at least not yet. As I hinted in my story from two weeks ago, Pan Am producer Sony Pictures TV has been exploring a play on cable or other platforms. I have now learned that the studio has had conversations with Amazon about potentially picking up the show. (Amazon already carries Pan Am‘s first season.) Like its fellow streaming brethren Hulu and Netflix, Amazon, along with Microsoft’s Xbox, has been looking to enter the original programming space.
DirecTV entered the original series arena by picking up canceled broadcast series — NBC’s Friday Night Lights and FX’s Damages. Netflix is doing it too with a new season of Arrested Development. Picking up Pan Am would certainly put Amazon on the map, though it seems at odds with the company’s recently announced plans to focus on comedy and children’s programming produced by its newly launched Amazon Studios. Because it ran on ABC only for a brief time and because Amazon already airs Pan Am‘s produced episodes, the streaming service can embrace the series and brand it as its own. It would also complement Amazon’s upcoming comedy slate with a high-end drama the service likely can’t produce on its own just yet.
Related: ‘Pan Am’ Honored In Europe; What Is Its Future In America? Read More »
Amazon reported that its net sales in first quarter 2012 increased 34% overall year over year, helping the online retailer and media supplier top Wall Street estimates. The company reported revenue of $13.2 billion, better than the $12.9 billion that … Read More »
Amazon did a victory dance of sorts today after the Justice Department filed its e-book pricing antitrust case against Apple and five book publishers — three of whom (Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster) have agreed to a … Read More »
The actress suing Amazon.com and IMDb.com for publishing her real age on the web retailer’s popular entertainment information web site has dismissed her allegations of fraud, invasion of privacy and request for $1 million in punitive damages, but allowed her case … Read More »
Here’s some interesting data for Hunger Games trivia fans. Is there a sociologist out there who can tell us whether this means anything?
SEATTLE– Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced the Top 20 cities in the U.S. that have purchased the most copies of Suzanne Collins’ epic Hunger Games trilogy. Amazon also revealed that Collins is the best-selling Kindle author of all time.
After compiling sales data of all versions of the Hunger Games books, in both print and Kindle formats, on a per capita basis in cities with over 100,000 residents, the Top 20 cities with Hunger Games hysteria are:
1. Sunnyvale, CA 11. Washington, DC
2. Salt Lake City, UT 12. Richmond, VA
3. Tallahassee, FL 13. Scottsdale, AZ
4. Seattle, WA 14. Wilmington, NC
5. Orlando, FL 15. Murfreesboro, TN
6. Pittsburgh, PA 16. Vancouver, WA
7. St. Louis, MO 17. Portland, OR
8. Provo, UT 18. Tampa, FL
9. San Francisco, CA 19. Overland Park, KS
10. Naperville, IL 20. Norman, OK
Read More »
It could be a fascinating anti-trust case according the details reported by The Wall Street Journal. The paper says that the Justice Department is gearing up to sue Apple and five top publishers — Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin Group, Macmillan, and HarperCollins — for conspiring to fix e-book prices around 2010 when the tech company introduced its iPad. The group allegedly wanted to end Amazon’s practice of selling e-books for a deeply discounted $9.99, part of the company’s strategy to promote sales of its Kindle e-readers. Hoping to loosen Amazon’s grip on the market, and help its new iPad, Apple encouraged publishers to stop selling books wholesale — which enabled retailers to set the selling price– and to adopt a so-called “agency model.” That empowers publishers to set the sales price, and pay retailers a fee of about 30%. The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he told publishers “the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want any way.” He added that Read More »
Pay TV providers already “know how to deal with HBO and would like to have a competitor to HBO,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said today at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference. So even though he doesn’t expect Netflix to join the pay TV line-up as a premium channel any time soon, “it’s in the natural direction in the long term” and “might be very powerful, especially as we have more original content.” But Hastings won’t give up the company in return for carriage, the way many cable channels have. Also he says that in any distribution arrangement it’s important that “the consumer knows they’re using Netflix and have our application on the TV.” Meanwhile, he says that cable operators have good reason to like having Netflix on broadband — despite their frequent complaint that the video service is a bandwidth hog. “They’re making a fortune,” he says. “Comcast and others are selling a (broadband) service for $40, $50, $60, $70 a month with no content costs.” Read More »