Report: Amazon to Overtake Walmart as Largest Domestic Retailer in 2022

Amazon is set to become the largest retailer in the United States by 2022, overtaking current leader Walmart, according to a report from market research firm Packaged Facts. The firm bases the forecast on the expectation that Amazon sales will continue to grow at a much faster rate.

The report, Amazon Strategies and the Amazon Shopper, 2nd Edition, analyzes the e-commerce giant’s activities in grocery, pet products and financial services.

“Amazon already has an enormous impact on e-commerce sales, benefitting from its creation of an endless online aisle with products at competitive prices,” David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, said in a statement. “Packaged Facts estimates that Amazon’s U.S. gross merchandise sales will comprise 43% of U.S. e-commerce sales in 2019, up from 28% in 2015. By 2022, we forecast that Amazon will contribute almost half of U.S. e-commerce sales.”

Despite Amazon’s continued growth, Walmart does have advantages Amazon presently cannot match, even when accounting for Amazon’s innovative incorporation of natural supermarket chain Whole Foods in 2017 or its partnership with department store retail chain Kohl’s, according to the firm. Most notably, Walmart’s in-store services strongly differentiate it from online competitors such as Amazon, which cannot provide such services, as well as from its brick-and-mortar competitors, many of which do not offer the same breadth of offerings or cannot match Walmart’s pricing. These services therefore not only produce revenue but also significantly drive traffic, which is even more vital at a time when brick-and-mortar retailers of all shapes and sizes seek to revitalize in-store traffic, according to the firm.

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Packaged Facts survey data found that more than 20% of Walmart purchasers use in-store services (including purchasing/using a range of financial services, on-site pharmacy, and optical and photo processing). In addition, Walmart is the click-and-collect king, according to the firm. Among survey respondent click-and-collectors, 43% identified Walmart as the pick-up location for their last click-and-collect order, three times the percentage of those who cited runner-up Target.

Amazon Upping Ad-Supported Video Options for Non-Prime Subscribers

Amazon Prime Video, along with Netflix and Hulu, remains among the top subscription-based video-on-demand streaming platforms in the United States and around the world.

But the e-commerce behemoth is quietly increasing efforts around its ad-supported VOD subsidiary, IMDb TV, and streaming media devices such as Fire TV.

In the third quarter, Amazon announced more than 20 new Fire TV products, including the first Fire TV Edition soundbar; the updated Fire TV Cube; the first OLED Fire TV Edition smart TV; and the first Fire TV Edition smart TV with far-field Alexa voice control.

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Amazon also expanded the lineup of content for Fire TV customers, including the recently announced YouTube TV app, Apple TV app, and the free News app. In Q3, Fire TV announced more than 37 million active users worldwide and continues to be the No. 1 selling family of streaming media players in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and India, according to Amazon.

Speaking on the fiscal call, Dave Fildes, director of investor relations, said Amazon is slowly increasing ad-supported video access, including third-party brand access.

“It’s still early in this space, but we’ve done a few things with IMDb TV, live sports [‘NFL Thursday Night Football’], things like adding more inventory through Fire TV apps, adding more OTT video supply through Amazon Publisher Services or APS integrations and streamlining access for third party apps and really just making it easier for advertisers to manage their campaigns and provide better results,” Fildes said.

Amazon Ups Q3 Online Store Sales 21%

Amazon Oct. 24 announced third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) online store revenue of $35 billion, which was 21% higher than $29 billion in revenue in the previous-year period.

Online stores include product sales and digital media content available in both a physical (DVD and Blu-ray Disc) and digital format, such as books, music, videos, games and software sold on a transactional basis.

Subscription services revenue, which includes annual and monthly fees associated with Prime memberships, as well as audiobook, digital movies, e-book, digital music and other non-AWS subscription services, increased 34% to $4.95 billion compared to $3.69 billion last year.

Other Q3 highlights featured a new line up of Echo personal speakers; 20 new Fire TV products, including the first Fire TV Edition soundbar; the all-new Fire TV Cube, the fastest and most powerful Fire TV ever; the first OLED Fire TV Edition smart TV; and the first Fire TV Edition smart TV with far-field Alexa voice control.

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Fire TV announced more than 37 million active users worldwide and continues to be the No. 1 selling family of streaming media players in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and India.

The e-commerce behemoth introduced the all-new eero mesh WiFi system, which offers simple, reliable WiFi for streaming, gaming, and working from home — all for $99. The mesh WiFi system replaces your existing router and extends WiFi coverage seamlessly throughout your home, according to Amazon. In addition, eero is expanding to Europe — customers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom will be able to try the eero and eero Pro in early November.

Prime Video won 15 Emmy awards, with “Fleabag” receiving four, including Outstanding Comedy Series, as well as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Prime Video premiered four new Amazon Original series: “The Boys,” “Carnival Row,” “Undone” and “Modern Love.” In addition, Prime Video will see the return of “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” starring John Krasinski, on Nov. 1; “The Man in the High Castle,” from author Philip K. Dick, on Nov. 15; “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” recent winner of eight Emmy awards, on Dec. 6; and the relaunch of series “The Expanse,” with an all-new season four, on Dec. 13.

Prime Video launched its third season of “NFL Thursday Night Football” with new features, such as Next Gen Stats on X-Ray, which gives fans access to deeper analytics and allows football fans all over the globe to customize their Thursday Night Football streaming experience.

Prime Video continues to create local Original Series around the world, including “All or Nothing: Brazil National Football Team” and “Soltos em Floripa” in Brazil; “El Juego de las Llaves” and “Derbez Family Vacation” in Mexico; “LOL: Last One Laughing” in Australia; “Truth Seekers” in the United Kingdom; “Inside Borussia Dortmund” in Germany; “El Corazón de Sergio Ramos” in Spain; “The Family Man” in India; and season three of “The Bachelor” in Japan.

Apple TV App Now Available on Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Oct. 24 announced that Fire TV users in more than 60 countries can download the Apple TV app — affording first-time access to iTunes movies, TV shows and channels purchased.

The app will enable Fire TV users on Nov. 1 to subscribe to Apple TV +, Apple’s new SVOD service featuring original and catalog programming, including “The Morning Show,” “Dickinson,” “See,” “For All Mankind” and “The Elephant Queen.”

The announcement is significant as it underscores Apple’s willingness to expand beyond its branded iOS ecosystem.

Viewers can also use the Alexa Voice Remote or a paired Echo device for far-field voice control.

The Apple TV app is available for Fire TV Stick (2nd Gen) and Fire TV Stick 4K, in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and India. Fire TV Basic Edition can also start using the app in more than 50 countries, including Australia, Austria, New Zealand, Brazil, Ireland and Mexico.

The app will be coming soon to the Fire TV Cube (1st- and 2nd-gen), Fire TV (3rd-gen pendant design), Fire TV Edition smart TVs and Nebula sound bar.

Anti-Piracy Group Adds Viacom, Comcast

The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, an online anti-piracy coalition whose members include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and major studios, has added Comcast and Viacom as members.

While NBC Universal and Paramount Pictures were already ACE members, the addition of their parent companies will strengthen ACE’s comprehensive approach to disrupting a piracy ecosystem that harms creators, according to the group. Comcast is the first internet service provider (ISP) to join ACE.

“We are excited to have Comcast and Viacom join ACE,” Charles Rivkin, CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement. “As the parent companies of two of our original members, they have been supporters of our efforts and numerous successes, but now as members, they will strengthen the legal and operational work we’re able to do to reduce the threat of piracy and support creators.”

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ACE was founded in June 2017 by 30 companies who sought to expand ongoing, cooperative efforts to reduce the threat and prevalence of online piracy.

Last year alone, there were an estimated 5.4 billion downloads of pirated films and television shows and 21.4 billion total visits to streaming piracy sites worldwide. This conservatively costs $29.2 billion to as much as $71 billion annually in lost domestic revenues, according to a recent study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center.

Piracy also harms consumers. One-third of pirate sites target them with malware that can lead to a range of problems, including identify theft and financial loss, according to a report by Digital Citizens Alliance.

Since its inception, ACE has successfully litigated against piracy device sellers and providers of unauthorized content and their operators such as Vader Streams, SetTVNow, Tickbox and Dragon Box, and has collaborated with law enforcement investigations and actions around the world. ACE draws upon the global antipiracy resources of the MPAA in concert with the internal antipiracy expertise of the coalition members.

With the additions, the full roster of ACE members includes Amazon, AMC Networks, BBC Worldwide, Bell Canada and Bell Media, Canal+ Group, CBS Corp., Channel 5, Comcast, Constantin Film, Discovery, Foxtel, Grupo Globo, HBO, Hulu, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Millennium Media, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, SF Studios, Sky, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Star India, Studio Babelsberg, STX Entertainment, Telefe, Telemundo, Televisa, Univision Communications Inc., Viacom, Village Roadshow, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, and Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Parks Associates: User Interface Important in Video Service Satisfaction

Almost three-quarters (70%) of U.S. broadband households with a major video service consider its user interface to be good, with 48% rating it “very good,” and these scores impact their willingness to recommend the service to others, according to research from Parks Associates.

Analysis of consumer responses reveals quality of the user interface and the ease of finding content are the most likely factors to drive willingness to recommend a video service.

In addition, one-fifth of households cancelling an OTT subscription cited an inability to find something to watch as a factor.

“Consumers are interested in finding particular shows or genres of content and have less interest in browsing by channel,” said Kristen Hanich, senior analyst, Parks Associates, in a statement.

The new report UI Preferences and Content Discovery examines consumer preferences related to new UI options and the ways that consumers find, and want to find, entertainment content. It also explores preferences by owners of various in-home devices and examines interest in new innovations such as smart speakers, personal assistants and voice interaction.

“User interfaces are a key factor driving satisfaction for OTT services, and Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon — the big three in OTT streaming — have largely set the standard for content navigation and ease of use,” Hanich said in a statement. “Other services have had to follow similar structures established by these three, but as new OTT services launch with greater and greater expectations, innovations in UIs could be an even greater differentiator contributing to their success or failure.”

Other findings include:

  • 70% of CE purchasers said ease of use is a “very important” purchase consideration;
  • when searching for something to watch, 12% of OTT users consider recommendations from the service as their first step; and
  • Apple TV owners give high marks to the device’s UI.

German Synagogue Shooter Live-Streamed Killings on Amazon’s Twitch Video Game Platform

Amazon-owned Twitch has confirmed that the suspected shooter near a synagogue in Halle, Germany, that left two people dead, live-streamed the event on the video game streaming platform.

A suspect has been arrested in what German police called an anti-Semitic attack that occurred on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

Twitch confirmed that the 35-minute video streamed on the platform had apparently been filmed with a head-mounted camera.

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“We are shocked and saddened by the tragedy that took place in Germany today, and our deepest condolences go out to all those affected,” a Twitch spokesperson told CNBC. “Twitch has a zero-tolerance policy against hateful conduct, and any act of violence is taken extremely seriously. We are working with urgency to remove this content and permanently suspend any accounts found to be posting or reposting content of this abhorrent act.”

 

Netflix’s ‘Big Mouth’ Top Binge, ‘Raising Dion’ Top ‘Show on the Rise’ on TV Time Charts

Two shows from Netflix led the TV Time charts for the week ended Oct. 6. “Big Mouth” was No. 1 on the “Binge Report,” while “Raising Dion” led the “Shows on the Rise.”

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. 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 third season of “Big Mouth,” an animated series aimed at adults from Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg, hit screens Oct. 4. It follows teenagers experiencing the wonders and horrors of puberty. The series also took the fourth spot on the Shows on the Rise chart.

Top rising show “Raising Dion” debuted Oct. 4. It follows a single mom of a boy struggling to control newfound powers.

Another Netflix show, the children’s series “Carmen Sandiego,” came in second on the “Rise” chart, while Amazon Prime’s “Goliath,” starring Billy Bob Thornton as a washed up lawyer, took third place.

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Top Binge Shows Week Ended Oct. 6 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Big Mouth” (Netflix) — 3.08%
  2. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 2.49%
  3. “Friends” (NBC) — 2.48%
  4. “Disenchantment” (Netflix) — 2.14%
  5. “Elite” (Netflix) — 1.92%
  6. “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS) — 1.64%
  7. “13 Reasons Why” (Netflix) — 1.62%
  8. “Peaky Blinders” (BBC One) — 1.54%
  9. “The Politician” (Netflix) — 1.52%
  10. “How to Get Away With Murder” (ABC) — 1.51%

 

Top Shows on the Rise Week Ended Oct. 6 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Raising Dion” (Netflix) — 100%
  2. “Carmen Sandiego” (Netflix) — 97.5%
  3. “Goliath” (Amazon) — 94.5%
  4. “Big Mouth” (Netflix) — 94.5%
  5. “Nana” (NTV) — 93.5%
  6. “Creeped Out” (CBBC) — 92.1%
  7. “God Friended Me” (CBS) — 85%
  8. “Radiant” (NHK) — 83.5%
  9. “The Rookie” (ABC) — 81.5%
  10. “Light as a Feather” (Hulu) — 80.9%

Amazon Bows New Fire Tablet Enabling Picture-in-Picture Streaming

Millennials love to multitask. So, Amazon Oct. 7 introduced updated Fire HD tablets that includes a kids’ model and affords users picture-in-picture functionality to stream Netflix while browsing the Web.

Notable to Fire HD 10 tablet ($149.99) features picture-in-picture functionality enabling users to stream videos from Prime Video, Twitch, Netflix, Lionsgate-owned Starz, and more, while also browsing the Internet, checking email, reviewing their calendar, or visiting Facebook.

The kids tablet features a childproof case, parental controls and retails for $199.99.

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The devices include a 10.1” widescreen Full HD 1080p display (1920 x 1200) with more than 2 million pixels (224 ppi) for bright, vivid image quality; a new octa-core 2.0 GHz processor and 2 GB RAM; stronger battery and storage starting at 32GB or 64GB, and support for up to 512 GB of expandable storage via microSD.

Fire tablets also include Alexa voice-controlled software, front and rear facing cameras, free unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content and photos taken with Fire tablets.

FreeTime is free on every Fire tablet—or subscribe to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited to access over 20,000 titles, starting at just $2.99 per month.

“We’ve made our best tablet even better with a faster processor, longer battery life, and faster charging,” Kevin Keith, VP, Amazon Devices, said in a statement. “The all-new Fire HD 10 has everything you need for entertainment with plenty of storage for your favorite videos, games, music, and books at home or on the go—and still under $150.”

Amazon also announced a new Kindle Kids Edition comes with these kid friendly featuring “Achievement Badges” where kids can earn badges like Book Worm and Over Achiever when they make progress towards pre-defined goals.

Enhanced browsing and search, kids can locate titles without the exact spelling. And with smart recommendations, kids can find books related to the genres, authors, and characters they love.

Kids are automatically provided short and simple definitions above difficult words, so they can keep reading with fewer interruptions.

If kids come across a difficult word, they can select the word to look up the definition via the built-in Kindle dictionary.

Words looked up in dictionaries are automatically added to Vocabulary Builder and turned into flashcards for future review and learning.

Devices include a unique set of lock screen wallpapers, specifically designed for kids.

“Kindle Kids Edition makes reading fun with achievement badges to help motivate readers to complete the next chapter, plus features like Word Wise and Vocabulary Builder are designed to help early readers build their reading and comprehension skills,” Kurt Beidler, director of kids and family, said. “With unlimited access to over a thousand new and popular books in FreeTime Unlimited, kids can easily find books to match their interests and can bring a library of books with them wherever they go—all on a single, lightweight device.”

 

Reports: Amazon Prime App Unavailable on Apple TV and iOS App Store

The Amazon Prime Video app disappeared Friday, Oct. 4, from Apple’s app store and Apple TV, according to news and social media reports.

“The developer has removed this app from the App Store,” is the notice that many mobile users received, according to reports. “Item not available” was another message when trying to download the app.

The app was also missing from Apple TV, according to reports.

It was a temporary glitch, according to Amazon.

“Earlier today, there was a technical glitch that impacted the Prime Video app on iOS and tvOS devices. The issue has been resolved, and the Prime Video app is now once again available in the App Store,” read an Amazon statement.

The glitch comes as Apple plans to launch its own streaming service, Apple TV+, Nov. 1 at $4.99.

Disney, too, is entering the market with Disney+ Nov. 12, and its CEO Bob Iger resigned from Apple’s board Sept. 10, the day the tech giant announced details about the pricing and release of its streaming service.

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In another streaming dustup, Disney is reportedly banning Netflix ads from all of its entertainment TV networks, including ABC, according to The Wall Street Journal.