Amazon Upped 2020 Content Spend 41% to $11 Billion

Among streamers such as Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu and Peacock, Amazon Prime Video remains relatively under the radar when it comes to publicized content spending.

So when founder/CEO Jeff Bezos released his final shareholder letter April 15, the world’s richest man threw out a lot of big numbers befitting a company tagged on Wall Street as No. 1 in market valuation. Not to be overlooked in the data dump: $11 billion in content spend on movies, TV shows and music in 2020. That’s up 41% from $7.8 billion in combined content spending in 2019.

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Netflix spent $11.8 billion on content in 2020, which was actually down almost 15% from $13.9 billion spent in 2019.

Amazon in recent years reduced content production as it focused monies on high-profile license agreements such as “NFL Thursday Night Football”, according to analyst Michael Pachter with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. He says Amazon is positioning to resume releasing original content at a steadier clip, as it had in the past. Amazon Studios recently installed a new, more comprehensive TV development team in place.

“We view [the move] as a way [for Amazon] to remain relevant in the face of heightened competition from various other streamers,” Pachter wrote in a note.

Separately, Bezos said the ecommerce pioneer created $126 billion in “value creation” economic benefit to consumers in 2020. He said most Amazon consumers complete 28% of their online purchases in three minutes or less, and half of all purchases are finished in less than 15 minutes.

When compared to the typical shopping trip to a physical store – driving,
parking, searching store aisles, waiting in the checkout line, finding your car, and driving home. Bezos said research suggests the typical physical store trip takes about an hour.

“If you assume that a typical Amazon purchase takes 15 minutes and that it saves you a couple of trips to a physical store a week, that’s more than 75
hours a year saved,” Bezos wrote.

Indeed, when valuing the time saved shopping through ecommerce at $10 per hour, Bezos estimates the average Amazon Prime member created $630 in annual “value creation” for themselves. A tally that skyrockets to $126 billion when multiplied by 200 million Prime members.

“That’s important,” wrote Bezos.





Amazon Prime Members Top 200 Million Worldwide

Amazon disclosed that its Prime membership base has topped 200 million worldwide. The e-commerce behemoth April 15 revealed the tally in founder/CEO Jeff Bezos’ final letter to shareholders. Bezos is stepping down from the CEO position to continue as chairman of the board. The CEO position will be assumed by Andy Jassy.

Jeff Bezos

Amazon, which is secretive about its Prime subscriber numbers, last disclosed such data at around 150 million members in 2020. Prime membership costs $119 annually (or $12.99 monthly), includes free two-day shipping on myriad items, and free access to Prime Video. The SVOD, which is available separately as well, now exceeds 200 million subs, making it on par with Netflix’s 203+ million subs globally at the end of 2020. Rival Disney+ has more than 100 million subs worldwide.

Bezos, who attached the company’s first shareholder letter from 1997 in his farewell note, also revealed that Amazon employs 1.3 million people, and that 60% of its retail sales are generated through more than 1.9 million small and medium-sized third-party businesses.

“To all of you: be kind, be original, create more than you consume, and never, never, never let the universe smooth you into your surroundings.
It remains Day 1,” Bezos wrote.



Amazon’s Oscar-Nominated Doc ‘Time’ Streaming Free for a Week

The Oscar-nominated Amazon Original documentary Time is streaming for free to audiences globally without needing a Prime subscription.

Starting April 12, the film will be available in front of the Prime Video paywall as well as streaming on YouTube for one week.

Time, from filmmaker Garrett Bradley, will also return to theaters starting April 16 in New York at the Village East, Los Angeles at The Landmark and San Francisco at the Embarcadero.

If Time wins, it would mark the first time ever a Black female director would win an Academy Award for Best Documentary.

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The documentary follows entrepreneur, abolitionist and mother of six boys Fox Rich, who has spent the last two decades campaigning for the release of her husband, Rob G. Rich, who is serving a 60-year sentence for a robbery they both committed in the early ’90s in a moment of desperation. Combining the video diaries Fox has recorded for Rob over the years with intimate glimpses of her present-day life, Bradley paints a portrait of the resilience and radical love necessary to prevail over the endless separations of the country’s prison-industrial complex.

Time cross-cuts footage from the past and present, framing it with a voiceover from Fox and her sons to provide a uniquely intimate perspective into the long-term costs of incarceration: the children who grow up without fathers, and the mothers who are forced to become caregivers and legal experts all at once.

Nielsen: Netflix’s ‘Ginny & Georgia’ Again Denies Disney’s ‘WandaVision’ in Top Weekly TV Streaming

Netflix original series “Ginny & Georgia” again held off a challenge from Disney+ franchise “WandaVision” to hold the No. 1 position on Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 chart for streamed content on the living room television the week of March 8-14.

The series saw viewership tumble 38% to 722 million minutes from 1.16 billion minutes in the previous-week period. That was still plenty enough to hold off “WandaVision,” which saw viewership freefall 58% to 388 million minutes across nine episodes from 924 million minutes following its season-ending ninth episode a week earlier.

In fact, Netflix’s “The Crown” moved past “WandaVison” with 449 million minutes to finish No. 2.

Amazon Prime Video’s Coming 2 America, licensed from Paramount Pictures and starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall, again topped original movies with 770 million minutes to easily outdistance Netflix’s newcomer, Yes Day with 402 million minutes, and Disney+ original Raya and the Last Dragon with 390 million minutes. The latter moved up one place after gaining 45 million minutes from the week before.

Licensed episodes of “Criminal Minds” again topped acquired streaming content with 699 million minutes across 307 episodes — underscoring the program’s enduring appeal for Netflix.

Source: Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings (Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix), Nielsen National TV Panel, U.S. Viewing through Television.


Licensed Titles

Rank SVOD Provider Program Name Number of Episodes Minutes Streamed
1 Netflix “Criminal Minds” 307 699
2 Netflix “Greys Anatomy” 366 628
3 Netflix “Cocomelon” 6 458
4 Netflix “Good Girls” 34 449
5 Netflix “NCIS” 353 441
6 Netflix “Schitt’s Creek” 80 438
7 Netflix “Heartland” 158 416
8 Netflix “Supernatural” 328 393
9 Netflix “Henry Danger” 65 332
10 Netflix “New Girl” 146 312


Rank SVOD Provider Program Name Number Minutes Streamed
1 Amazon Coming 2 America 1 770
2 Netflix Yes Day 1 402
3 Disney+ Raya and the Last Dragon 1 390
4 Netflix Parker (2013) 1 345
5 Disney+ Moana 1 201
6 Netflix I Care A Lot 1 196
7 Netflix Bigfoot Family 1 185
8 Netflix Moxie 1 158
9 Netflix The Dark Knight 1 157
10 Netflix Safe Haven 1 140

Nielsen: Brand Integration Key to Marketers for Ad-Free SVOD

With advertising not on the table for marketers thus far on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, consumer brands looking to capitalize on the SVOD powerhouse’s subscriber bases need to get resourceful.

With 23% of the total time spent in front of the television during an average week last December devoted to streaming video, Americans streamed more than 132 billion minutes, with big SVOD providers such as Netflix and Prime Video accounting for more than half (53%) of the distribution, according to new data from Nielsen.

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While product placement in movies and TV shows isn’t new, one of the most basic tenets of an advertising plan remains the ability to deliver the right message to the right consumer. Today, marketers are employing new tactics such as becoming part of content storylines, amplifying their presence well beyond passive product insertions.

With Netflix generating almost 75 million subscribers in North America through 2020, Nielsen contends 10.4% of the streamer’s audience for original series “Cobra Kai” does not watch traditional linear television. As a result, brands such as Enterprise Car Rental, Coors, Dell Computer and Mercedes Benz featured prominently in the first two seasons of “Kai.”

Besides placement, Coors actually factored into the storyline of series character Johnny Lawrence. It’s his favorite beer, and he drinks a lot of it on the show. That calculated product favoritism paid off for Coors.

Nielsen says the Golden, Colo.-based brewer’s exposure on the show garnered almost 170 million equivalized and valued impressions among viewers 21 and older through the first four weeks the program was available on Netflix. Separately, character Daniel LaRousso runs a car dealership, and thus it’s no surprise that cars play a notable role in the plot, including the destruction of Johnny’s beloved Firebird and the Dodge Challenger that ultimately replaces it.

However, much of the inventory at Daniel’s lot, however, is luxury cars,
which provides Mercedes-Benz, Audi and others the opportunity to take center stage throughout the episodes.

Brand integrations in “Cobra Kai” delivered Mercedes-Benz on average more than 43 million impressions among viewers 18-49, according to Nielsen. And in the first four weeks of being available on Netflix, season one of “Kai” delivered Dell more than 70 million impressions to viewers 18-49, a key age demo for computer users.

“Branded integrations in SVOD programming don’t just provide exposure in an ad-free environment, they reach audiences that traditional TV typically doesn’t,” read the report. “SVOD programs tend to reach lighter viewers of traditional TV, which makes the incremental reach of SVOD significant.”

Indeed, in a four-week period, Nielsen found that 19% of the combined total audience exposed to both “Cobra Kai” and linear-TV programming featuring Coors ads watched only “Cobra Kai.”

“Branded integrations provide advertisers and agencies with a modern way to integrate brands into the burgeoning streaming realm while simultaneously gaining incremental reach,” Nielsen wrote.


Data: Despite Hype, Disney+ Still a Distant Third Among U.S. Streamers

With Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu essentially creating the subscription streaming video market, it’s not surprising that the three streaming services make up 65% of the U.S. SVOD market.

New data from JustWatch suggests Netflix remains the market leader over Prime Video by a 10% margin, and upstart Disney+ is in close contention with Disney-controlled subsidiary Hulu for third place.

Netflix, JustWatch data shows, is No. 1 at 31%, with Amazon Prime Video at 21% and Hulu and Disney+ tied at 13%. All figures are for the first quarter of 2021.

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In March, Disney+ overtook Hulu to become the third-largest streaming service in the US. Peacock and Disney+ were the only streaming services to gain domestic market share or remain the same through the first quarter, while all of the others decreased.

“We see Disney+ as a global predator for Netflix subscribers, reaching 100 million subs just 16 months after launch,” Laura Martin, analyst with Needham, wrote in a March 15 note. “It took Netflix 10 years to reach 100 million subs.”

Nielsen: Amazon’s ‘Coming 2 America’ Dominates Weekly Streaming

Amazon Prime Video’s pandemic decision to license Paramount Pictures’ Coming 2 America paid dividends, with the sequel co-starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall topping all content streamed on living room televisions for the week of March 1-7, according to new data from Nielsen.

Paramount sold the movie rights after exhibitors were forced to shut down due to government mandates due to coronavirus infection concerns.

The movie tracked more than 1.4 billion minutes streamed, easily topping Netflix’s Bigfoot Family and Golden Globe winner I Care a Lot with 363 million minutes each respectively. It marked the first time a non-Netflix title has finished atop the weekly chart Nielsen launched last September.

Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy, said 40% of the movie’s viewers originated in black homes, which he said helped place a motion picture ahead of original TV and licensed content.

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“It’s very rare for a movie to take the top slot,” Fuhrer said. “We have to go all the way back to [Netflix’s] Spenser Confidential, and more recently [Disney’s] Soul, which was supplanted by [Warner Bros. Pictures’] Wonder Woman 1984 for a movie to win the week.”

Notably, “WandaVision” (924 million) could not unseat Netflix’s “Ginny & Georgia” (1.16 billion) for top spot on the original series chart.

“‘WandaVision’ had a great run, in the top 10 every week, it just couldn’t take the top slot,” Fuhrer said. “I think this was the peak.”

Source: Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings (Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix), Nielsen National TV Panel, U.S. Viewing through Television.


Licensed Content


SVOD Provider

Program Name

Number of Episodes

Minutes Streamed

1 Netflix “Criminal Minds” 307 929
2 Netflix “Grey’s Anatomy” 366 858
3 Netflix “Good Girls” 34 579
4 Netflix “NCIS” 353 555
5 Netflix “Schitt’s Creek” 80 493
6 Netflix “Cocomelon” 6 475
7 Netflix “Heartland” 158 475
8 Netflix “iCarly” 60 431
9 Netflix “Supernatural” 328 400
10 Netflix “The Sinner” 24 334



SVOD Provider

Program Name


Minutes Streamed

1 Amazon Coming 2 America 1 1,413
2 Netflix Bigfoot Family 1 363
3 Netflix I Care a Lot 1 363
4 Disney+ Raya and the Last Dragon 1 355
5 Netflix Moxie 1 257
6 Netflix Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell 1 203
7 Disney+ Moana 1 185
8 Netflix The Dark Knight 2 176
9 Netflix No Escape 1 141
10 Disney+ Frozen 1 134

Disney+ Tops 50% of Indian SVOD Subscriber Market

In the lucrative — and booming — Indian subscription streaming VOD market, Disney+ is beating industry veterans Netflix and Amazon Prime Video handily. New data from London-based research firm Omdia (formerly IHS Markit) finds the service accounted for 50% of all SVOD subs in India in 2020. India represents 30% of Disney’s 100+ million SVOD subs globally.

Online video subs revenue grew 142% primarily due to the global pandemic, with revenue rising from $265 million in 2019 to $639 million at the end of 2020. Disney+ Hotstar and Netflix accounted for 78% of the total online video subscription market revenue.

Disney acquired Indian digital platform Hotstar through its $71.3 billion acquisition of 20th Century Fox assets two years ago.

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Over the past year, Disney+ Hotstar has tripled its subscriber base from 8 million to 25.6 million. This growth is partly down to the bundling of Disney+ and Hotstar, as well as the postponement of the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket from April to September as well as competitive pricing plans and exclusive rights to foreign content such as “Game of Thrones.”

Netflix India also grew its subscription base significantly, rising to 4.4 million, up from 2.4 million in 2019.

“The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the growth rate of an already dynamic and robust OTT market,” analyst Constantinos Papavassilopoulos said in a statement. “The basic elements that will propel the market to further growth in the near future are already there: very affordable mobile broadband prices, high penetration of smart-phones, a population eager to consume more content, an ever-growing investment in Indian originals and a plethora of choices with more than 40 OTT services operating in the country.”

Indeed, India is a market obsessed with mobile access to media. The world’s No. 2 population has more than 1.1 billion cellphone subscribers. Omdia says 82% of Indian online video services are accessed through smartphones, with only 39% accessing content through dedicated TV apps.

Disney+ Hotstar offers three content packages. The VIP plan (INR 399 per year) offers dubbed local language content, while Premium (INR 299 per month) offers both English and dubbed version of content. In terms of device access, the VIP plan only allows its subs to watch on one screen in HD while Premium plan allows subscribers to watch on two screens simultaneously in Full HD.

Separately, India was the launch site for Netflix’s first mobile-only SVOD plan, while Amazon bowed a $1.20 priced Prime Video plan. Lionsgate launched a branded SVOD service in India, dubbed Lionsgate Play, to go along with its Starz Arabia streaming service.

In 2021, Amazon and Netflix will continue their large investment in original Indian content, with the two services set to invest around $340 million, representing 52% of the total content investment. Omdia expects that close to 400 original titles (mostly series) will be produced this year by foreign and local Indian OTT services.

By offering affordable streaming plans and partnering with large telecoms such as Jio Reliance, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India, Omdia expects that mobile-only SVOD subscriptions will continue to grow over the next couple of years. However, these plans face increased challenges from traditional pay-TV services, which are aggregating OTT video with their core linear TV service.

The Week the Pay-TV Bundle Died

NEWS ANALYSIS — Fox Corp. and Disney-owned ESPN March 18 became the latest media companies to ink 11-year carriage agreements through 2033 with the National Football League that include landmark direct-to-consumer distribution via ad-supported VOD platform Tubi and SVOD service ESPN+, respectively.

When combined with the NFL’s other new contracts with ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, Fox Corp., Amazon and Disney, the deals are reportedly worth a staggering $113 billion to the world’s biggest-revenue sports league. Despite slumping ratings and empty stadiums, live sports remains one of the most coveted prizes in the television business.

Why? The pay-TV market ended 2020 on record as the one of the worst for churn, or subscribers canceling the cable bundle — losing 1.4 million combined subs in Q4 alone. Cable operator WideOpenWest in February revealed it would lose 66% of its sub base in the next three years. Household subscriber penetration now stands at 60% — the lowest level since 1994.

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“The media industry just suffered from the worst year ever for cord cutting,” analyst firm MoffetNathanson wrote in a note.

To stanch the bleeding, media companies, whose assets include pay-TV, now covet over-the-top access to the NFL in order to gain a stronger digital foothold. And the NFL was willing to oblige — for a price.

ESPN+, which ended Disney’s most-recent fiscal period with 12 million subscribers, for the first time will stream a Saturday doubleheader during the season’s final weekend and one Sunday morning game.

“There are so many exciting new components, including Super Bowls and added playoff games, new end-of-season games with playoff implications, exclusive streaming games on ESPN+, scheduling flexibility and enhancements,”  Jimmy Pitaro, content chairman at ESPN, said in a statement. “It’s a wide-ranging agreement unlike any we’ve reached [previously] with the NFL.”

Fox will create an “NFL experience” on Tubi consisting of fee-based premiere VOD as well as condensed free ad-supported games throughout the NFL season.

“We are pleased to broaden our deal to include new digital rights that provide us with the flexibility to deliver NFL to customers in expanded and innovative ways,” Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said. “This long-term agreement ensures that we will continue to deliver the best in football coverage to our viewers while also strengthening and providing optionality to our business.”

The “optionality” to deliver live football to consumers via subscription streaming video and AVOD is relatively new in the U.S., and underscores the changing dynamics surrounding content distribution in the digital age.

“People want to watch it whenever it is convenient right now,” David Mowrey, VP of product management with Clearlap, which conducted a 2015 consumer survey gauging consumer interest paying for live sports streaming access, told CNET. “There’s still a lot of opportunity to create better experiences particularly around streaming sports.”

Industry data contends there was a peak 105 million pay-TV households in 2010, a tally that has been plummeting ever since. Despite the pandemic putting increased eyeballs in front of the television, the pay-TV market declined to less than 83 million households in 2020 — with new estimates dropping that number by another 10 million in two years.

As a result, live sports delivered on cable, satellite and telecom premium channels was seen as the industry’s Ace card against further subscriber churn, according to Mike Vorhaus with Magid Advisors.

“Sports is a major deterrent to cord cutting,” Vorhaus said in 2015 — a lifetime ago in the rapidly evolving digital media landscape.

“I think it’s 10 years, and there’ll be a total change of the guard,” Chris Long, a former DirecTV executive and now CEO of Cedar Park Entertainment, told Variety last summer. “At some point, people will make that decision of ‘I can get everything I want [in streaming]. I no longer need to have 180 channels that I only watch 12 of.'”

Indeed, sports’ move to digital marks another blow to the channel bundle business model that branched out into online TV (Dish Networks’ Sling TV, AT&T TV and ESPN+ Live TV) in an effort to thwart subscriber churn.

But with OTT video behemoth Netflix uninterested (thus far) in live sports, ViacomCBS’ streaming platform Paramount+, NBCUniversal’s Peacock and Amazon Prime Video jumped in the deep end this week, inking separate deals with the NFL, including Peacock and Prime Video being granted exclusive streaming access to “Sunday Night Football” and “Thursday Night Football,” respectively.

Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, said ad-supported SVOD/AVOD platforms give media companies dealing with declining pay-TV revenue the ability to increase revenue and offset live-sports carriage fees.

The analyst said Hulu, through its ad-supported options, generates as much as $10 per user per month. The lower tier subscription is limited in its ability to deliver ads (usually three to four minutes per hour), but the completely free versions can advertise as much as 10 to 12 minutes per hour.

“So, there is plenty of room to grow revenue for most of these guys,” Pachter said.

Amazon Prime Video, NFL Sign Historic 10-Year ‘Thursday Night Football’ Streaming Pact

The National Football League had a busy day inking new carriage/streaming deals with media giants NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS. The NFL also announced a 10-year agreement with Amazon Prime Video to exclusively broadcast 15 “Thursday Night Football” games and one pre-season game per year in the U.S. The deal marks first-ever digital package for the NFL.

The Prime Video deal begins in 2023 and is the NFL’s first exclusive national broadcast package with a digital streaming service. The deal is increasing from 11 games to 15 games, with all games airing on Prime Video as part of a Prime membership.

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“This unprecedented package gives tens of millions of new and existing Prime members exclusive access to live football on Prime Video,” Mike Hopkins, SVP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said in a statement.

Prime Video will deliver new pre-game, half-time, and post-game shows, and it will continue to offer fan-favorite interactive features like X-Ray and Next Gen Stats, which provide a more customizable viewing experience.

In addition, Prime Video also secured rights to a weekly slate of original NFL programming and expanded rights to in-game highlights for all NFL matchups. Prime Video and the NFL will continue to collaborate on exclusive NFL content and enhanced fan viewing experiences around “Thursday Night Football,” with more information to come ahead of the first game in 2023.

The announcement is a continuation of an expanding relationship between the NFL and Amazon, which first distributed a simulcast of “Thursday Night Football” during the 2017 season.

In April 2020, Amazon and the NFL expanded the existing 11-game “Thursday Night Football” package on Prime Video to include one exclusive regular-season game per year, the first of which was played on Dec. 26 between the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals.

The matchup drew an estimated 11.2 million total viewers and delivered the highest digital average-minute audience ever for an NFL regular-season game. Additionally, since 2017, the NFL has used Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its official cloud and machine learning provider for Next Gen Stats, which provides real-time location, speed, and acceleration data for every player during every play on every inch of the field.

In keeping with the NFL’s long-standing commitment to make its games available on free, over-the-air television, each game will also be televised in the participating teams’ home marketplaces.