When Amazon enters an industry, incumbent companies usually freak out.
Whether it’s pharmaceuticals, groceries, cloud computing or just old-fashioned retail, Amazon has earnedits reputation as a business bulldozer.
But when it comes to video, Amazon has so far been content with just being a player, not the player.
I think Amazon Prime Video has spent alot of money and has very little to show for it today.
But that may be changing.
For years, Amazon has used video asa sweetener for people to subscribe to Amazon Prime, thecompany’s $119/year service.
A Prime subscription includes not justTV shows and movies, but shopping discounts, access to music and booksand, of course, free shipping on Amazon deliveries.
At first Amazon’s video strategy wasto buy high-minded content, that could win Hollywood awards.
Shows like ‘Transparent’and ‘Marvelous Mrs.
Maisel, ‘ and movies like ‘Manchester bythe Sea’ and ‘The Big Sick.
‘ Under Roy Price, the former head ofAmazon Studios, Amazon had some success with this strategy.
‘Transparent’ won the Golden Globe forbest musical or comedy series in 2015 and ‘Manchester by the Sea’ wonthe Academy Award for best original screenplay in 2017.
But those hits stillhad relatively small audiences.
When Roy Price left Amazon in late2017, Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, decided to replace him with Jennifer Salke, a broadcast TV veteran.
Salke changed Amazon’s video strategy tolook for content that appeals to broader audiences.
This better matches up with bringingpeople into the Prime universe and keeping the ones thatare already there.
I think you’re going to seeAmazon go after big, broad content.
Obviously, the most obvious example of thisis they’re doing ‘Lord of the Rings, ‘ and there’s no bigger, broaderopportunity and shot on goal than doing a ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV show.
Amazon bought the rights to ‘Lord of theRings’ in 2017 for a cool $250 million, the biggest amount everspent on TV rights.
Amazon plans to run at least five seasonsof the series and has promised a campaign to promote theshow alongside J.
Tolkien’s books on Amazon.
Amazon now has more than100 million Prime subscribers.
With so many credit cards already onfile, it makes sense for Amazon to shift the purpose of Prime Videoto connect content with commerce.
Unlike Netflix or HBO, Amazon canmarket its content within an Amazon search for merchandise.
Already today, a search for ‘The Hobbit’doesn’t just show you the book, but also gives you a chance tosubscribe to watch the movie on Prime Video.
Amazon’s next big splash couldbe sports, particularly live sports programing.
The company has alreadyacquired some streaming rights to Thursday Night Football and Premier Leaguesoccer games, but it’s yet to land a huge, exclusivesports rights deal.
That could change in the coming years asrights to the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball comeup for grabs.
Amazon looks at content creation througha very different lens than a traditional media company.
A traditional media company is, ‘wellhow much advertising can I generate from this?’ Amazon, the first thing when they talkedabout the NFL, the number one metric they were looking atis new to Prime.
Meaning new people that have comeinto the Prime ecosystem because those are people that spend a lot more overthe year than people who are not part of the Prime ecosystem.
The major U.
professional sports organizations might be alittle hesitant to sell their exclusive rights to anon-traditional player like Amazon.
But connecting commerce to content couldmake them a lot more revenue.
This is not just about showcasingfootball games on Thursday night.
This is selling you a jersey.
This is potentially sellingyou a ticket.
There’s so much more that Amazon cando than just simply stream a game.
They can probably sell advertising betterthan any TV network because of the data they have and theyknow exactly what I like.
They know I’m a Giants fan.
The bigger battle beyond just contentcould be ownership of the home.
Seamlessly connecting Amazon Echo toTVs and mobile devices could revolutionize how people findshows and movies.
Getting the ‘Grand Tour’from Prime Video.
There is an all out war forthe control of your media life.
Home, car, on the go.
This is war, and I think the realityis these big tech platforms, who have valuations, and market caps and cashpiles that are massive relative to traditional media, they’rejust getting started.
So far, Apple and Amazonreally haven’t gone toe-to-toe.
But as Apple also gets intooriginal content, that competition is coming.
There is going to be a war.
It’s gonna be all of thesetech platforms feasting on the challenges facing legacy media.