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.

 

 

‘Them’ Top Rising Show on Weekly TV Time Chart

Amazon Prime’s “Them” was the top show on the rise on the TV Time chart for the week ended April 11.

Season one of the horror series follows a Black family in the 1950s who moves from North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood. They are threatened in their idyllic home by malevolent forces, next door and otherworldly.

On the binge chart, following perennial binge favorite “Grey’s Anatomy” at No. 1 was the anime series “Attack on Titan,” which dropped from No. 1 to No. 2. The series is based on the manga and is set in a world where humanity lives within cities surrounded by enormous walls that protect them from gigantic man-eating humanoids referred to as Titans.

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by almost 1 million consumers every day, according to the service. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program. The network displayed is the network where the show first aired (e.g. “Friends” on NBC).

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Top Binge Shows Week Ended April 11 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC U.S.) — 2.28%
  2. “Attack on Titan” (NHK) — 2.15%
  3. “LOL: Last One Laughing” (IT) (Amazon Prime Video) — 1.96%
  4. “Modern Family” (ABC U.S.) — 1.76%
  5. “The 100” (The CW) — 1.75%
  6. “One Piece” (Fuji TV) — 1.71%
  7. “Who Killed Sara?” (Netflix) — 1.44%
  8. “The Office” (U.S.) (NBC) — 1.11%
  9. “Naruto Shippuden” (TV Tokyo) — 1.04%
  10. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 0.98%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended April 11 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Them” (Amazon Prime Video) — 99.8%
  2. “Tokyo Revengers” (MBS) — 97.9%
  3. “Family Reunion” (Netflix) — 95.5%
  4. “Hippocrate” (Canal+) — 92.7%
  5. “Heaven Official’s Blessing” (Bilibili) — 92.7%
  6. “Ex on the Beach Brazil” (MTV Brazil) — 89.4%
  7. “How Not to Summon a Demon Lord” (AT-X) — 87.1%
  8. “LOL: Last One Laughing” (IT) (Amazon Prime Video) — 78.6%
  9. “The Serpent” (BBC One/Netflix) — 78.5%
  10. “Vivy-Flourite Eye’s Song” (Tokyo MX) — 76.8%

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.

Best Buy Testing Paid Membership Program in Select Markets

Taking a page from Amazon Prime and Walmart+, Best Buy has quietly begun testing a membership program, dubbed Best Buy Beta, that affords consumers an array of benefits, including exclusive pricing, Geek Squad technical support, up to two years of protection on most product purchases, free standard shipping and delivery, and free installation on most products and appliances.

Priced at $199.99 per year ($179.99 per year for Best Buy credit card holders), the program also includes access to a concierge service available 24/7 by phone, chat, email or through the Best Buy app.

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“As we look to evolve our membership programs, the goal of Best Buy Beta is to create an experience that customers will love and to leave them feeling confident throughout their relationship with Best Buy,” Allison Peterson, the CE retailer’s chief customer officer, said in a statement. “This pilot offers premium service, complete with support aimed at anticipating our customers’ needs.”

The pilot is currently available at select stores throughout Iowa, Oklahoma and eastern Pennsylvania. In April, it will expand to customers and select stores in Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee. At that time, it will be available at a total of about 60 stores.

Best Buy existing membership programs, including “Total Tech Support” ($199 per year) and the “My Best Buy ” points program, continue separately.

Amazon’s Prime membership gives consumers free two-day shipping on myriad purchases, in addition to access to movies and TV shows, music, books and video games.

Walmart’s $98 annual “Walmart +” platform also offers free shipping, discounts on fuel purchases, mobile checkout service and free grocery home delivery.

 

TV Time: Warner’s ‘Mortal Kombat’ Most Anticipated Movie in April

Warner Bros.’ Mortal Kombat was the most anticipated movie in April on the TV Time chart.

Based on the video game franchise of the same name, the film follows Shaolin Monk Liu Kang, from Earth, who gets invited as a competitor in a mysterious, intergalactic tournament of ancient martial arts. It premieres April 23 in theaters and on WarnerMedia’s HBO Max streaming service.

A Whip Media company, TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by nearly 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, premiering on Amazon Prime April 30, took the second spot on the chart. The action thriller is based on the 1993 novel of the same name by Tom Clancy and is a spin-off of the Jack Ryan film series.

Coming in at No. 3 was Netflix’s Thunder Force, premiering April 9 on the streaming service. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spenser and Jason Bateman, the film follows two childhood best friends who reunite as an unlikely crime-fighting superhero duo when one invents a formula that gives ordinary people superpowers.

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Also from Netflix, Stowaway, premiering April 22, took the fourth spot on the chart. In the film starring Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson and Toni Collette, a three-person crew on a mission to Mars faces an impossible choice when an unplanned passenger jeopardizes the lives of everyone on board.

Another space story, Lionsgate’s Voyagers, landed at No. 5. Starring Colin Farrell, Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp and Fionn Whitehead, the film follows a crew of astronauts on a multi-generational mission who descend into paranoia and madness, not knowing what is real or not. It hits theaters April 9.

Rounding out the chart at No. 6 was Concrete Cowboy, which began streaming on Netflix April 2. Starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin (“Stranger Things”), it follows a rebellious teen, sent to live with his estranged father for the summer, who finds kinship in a tight-knit Philadelphia community of Black cowboys.

 Most Anticipated April Movies

  1. Mortal Kombat – April 23 (Warner Bros., theaters and HBO Max)
  2. Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse – April 30 (Amazon Prime)
  3. Thunder Force – April 9 (Netflix)
  4. Stowaway – April 22 (Netflix)
  5. Voyagers – April 9 (Lionsgate, theaters)
  6. Concrete Cowboy – April 2 (Netflix)

 

TV Time features a global community of 16 million users who have reported more than 18 billion views of TV and movie content across 230,000 titles.

‘Hemingway’ Coming to PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel April 5

Hemingway, a documentary from filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick chronicling the life of literary icon Ernest Hemingway, will be available to stream on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel on April 5.

The channel will also be streaming a 4K Ultra High-Definition version of the program beginning April 11. The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

The title will come out on Blu-ray and DVD April 13.

The three-part, six-hour film examines the life and work of Hemingway, one of the most influential writers America has ever produced. Narrated by long-time collaborator Peter Coyote, the series features an all-star cast of actors bringing Hemingway (voiced by Jeff Daniels), his friends and family to life. Through letters to and from his four wives — voiced by Meryl Streep, Keri Russell, Mary-Louise Parker and Patricia Clarkson — the film reveals Hemingway at his most romantic and his most vulnerable, grappling at times with insecurity, anxiety and existential loneliness.

Burns and Novick paint a picture of Hemingway, who captured on paper the complexities of the human condition in profound prose, and whose work remains deeply influential around the world. Informed by interviews with celebrated writers, scholars and Hemingway’s son Patrick, the filmmakers explore the painstaking process through which Hemingway created some of the most notable works of fiction, in novels such as The Sun Also RisesA Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea; short stories “Hills Like White Elephants,” “The Short and Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” “Up in Michigan,” “Indian Camp” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro;” as well as the nonfiction works Death in the Afternoon and A Moveable Feast.

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His relationships with women — his mother, sisters, wives and the World War I nurse who broke his heart — profoundly affected his work. Yet for all his bravado and hyper-masculine posturing, Hemingway wrote about relationships between men and women with sensitivity, nuance and clarity.

The filmmakers were granted unusually open access to the treasure trove of Hemingway’s manuscripts, correspondence, scrapbooks and photographs housed at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. The film also explores Hemingway’s limitations and biases as an artist and a man of his time.

Remastered ‘Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns’ Coming to PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel March 18

The Emmy Award-winning documentary series Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns is coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel March 18.

The series, coming to the service in time for Major League Baseball’s opening day, is remastered in HD and has also been rejuvenated, as each photograph and clip were meticulously inspected and repaired.

The Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Informational Series tells the story of how, over the years, baseball has not just been a game, but America’s pastime, continuously echoing social issues and creating unforgettable moments in history. The series sheds light on the icons who of the game and the moments that have forever changed the way fans look at it.

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The subscription rate for PBS Documentaries is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Netflix Content Dominates 2021 Golden Globes in Banner Year for Streamers

Netflix TV shows and movies won 10 trophies at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony held Feb. 28 and broadcast on NBC. In a sign of the times, content that debuted on streaming services won 20 of the 25 categories presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The big gun for Netflix came on the TV side, with the fourth season of “The Crown” winning in all four categories it was nominated (it had two nominees in two of the acting categories), including Best Drama Series. Emma Corrin won Best Actress in a Drama series for her role as Princess Diana, beating out co-star Olivia Colman, who played Queen Elizabeth. Josh O’Connor won for Best Actor in a Drama series for playing Prince Charles, while Gillian Anderson won Best Supporting Actress for playing Margaret Thatcher.

Netflix won two more statuettes for The Queens’ Gambit, which won Best Miniseries or Television Film, and Best Actress for Anya Taylor-Joy.

Among other TV categories, The Apple TV+ original series “Ted Lasso” won Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Series for Jason Sudeikis, while Amazon Prime’s “Small Axe” won Best Supporting Actor for John Boyega, and HBO’s I Know This Much Is True won Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film for Mark Ruffalo.

“Schitt$ Creek,” the complete series of which is streaming on several services including Netflix, and available on DVD from Lionsgate, won Best Musical or Comedy Series and Best Actress for Catherine O’Hara.

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On the movie side, because of theatrical shutdowns due to the the coronavirus pandemic, the HFPA opened eligibility to movies otherwise intended for theaters that had to be rescheduled and ultimately ended up at a streaming platform. Also, the eligibility period covering 2020 films was extended to include early 2021 releases.

Subsequently, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, which debuted on Amazon Prime Video in October and never played in theaters, won for Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy, while star Sacha Baron Cohen won Best Actor for reprising his role as the title character in the politically charged sequel.

Best Motion Picture — Drama went to Nomadland, which was released concurrently in theaters and on Hulu Feb. 19 (though it did screen at some film festivals and limited engagements last year). Chloé Zhao won Best Director for the film.

Another Hulu movie, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, won Best Actress in a drama for Andra Day in the title role.

Judas and the Black Messiah, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival on Feb. 1, and was released in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures Feb. 12 simultaneously in theaters and for streaming on HBO Max, won Best Supporting Actor for Daniel Kaluuya.

Netflix’s movie haul included the late Chadwick Boseman winning Best Actor in a drama for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Aaron Sorkin winning Best Screenplay for The Trial of the Chicago 7; Rosamund Pike winning Best Actress in a musical or comedy for I Care a Lot; and “Lo Si (Seen)” winning Best Song for Italian film The Life Ahead.

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Pixar’s Soul, which saw its theatrical release scrapped in lieu of a Christmas Day debut on Disney+ domestically (it played in theaters internationally), won two trophies, for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score.

STX Films’ The Mauritanian, which will debut on Amazon Prime April 1, won Best Supporting Actress for Jodi Foster.

Finally, A24’s Minari, an American production in Korean, won Best Foreign-Language Film.

 

TV Time: Disney+ Series ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Top Anticipated New Show in March

The Disney+ Series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” was the top anticipated new show on the TV Time chart for March.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

“The Falcon and the Winder Soldier,” debuting on March 19, features Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie reprising their Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero roles. The mismatched duo teams up for a global adventure.

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Also appearing on the new show chart were three other series from streamers. At No. 2 was “Foundation,” debuting March 1 on Apple TV+. It’s a science fiction show based on the book series of the same name by Isaac Asimov. At No. 3 was HBO Max’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the director’s new cut of the Warner Bros. film hitting home screens March 18. And at No. 5 behind NBC’s sci-fi series “Debris” was another superhero series, “Invincible,” coming out on Amazon Prime Video March 26. It’s an adult animated show based on the comic book character of the same name by Robert Kirkman.

 

Most Anticipated New Shows for March:

  1. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” (Disney+) — March 19
  2. “Foundation” (Apple TV+) — March 1
  3. Zack Snyder’s Justice League (HBO Max) — March 18
  4. “Debris” (NBC) — March 1
  5. “Invincible” (Amazon Prime Video) — March 26

 

Most Anticipated Returning Shows for March:

  1. “My Hero Academia” (NTV) — March 27
  2. “The Flash” (2014) (CW) — March 2
  3. “Good Girls” (NBC) — March 7
  4. “Love Alarm” (Netflix) — March 12
  5. “Final Space” (TBS) — March 20