Conviva: Streaming Video Use Slowed in Q2

Demand for streaming video may be booming, but advertisers didn’t bite in the second quarter, with ad attempts in the quarter ended June 30 down 28% globally and 22% in the U.S. as compared to Q1 2020, according to new data from Conviva.

With streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and CBS All Access reporting strong subscriber growth during the coronavirus pandemic due to increased numbers of consumers spending time in the home, streaming actually slowed in May and June as compared to its height in April when shelter-in-place orders drove streaming viewing up 81% year over year.

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While advertising demand dropped in Q2, due in part to a lack of sports, streaming ads saw significant improvements in overall quality. Viewers spent 38% less time waiting for an ad to start in Q2 as compared to Q1 and as a result, pre-ad viewer-initiated exits dropped 22%. Ad picture quality also improved, with bitrate up 53%.

Despite quality improvements, nearly 45% of ads represented missed opportunities. The most common advertising issue continues to be the lack of demand as publishers try to fill ad slots, but no relevant ad is available.

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“Shelter-in-place mandates skyrocketed streaming viewership in April, led by Europe which saw a 174% increase year over year,” CEO Bill Demas said in a statement. “Unfortunately advertising moved in the opposite direction with global demand significantly reduced due to COVID-19.”

Demas expects advertising to bounce back in the coming quarters as the industry and viewers acclimate to a ‘new normal,’ including streaming being part of the everyday routine.

Indeed, the report suggests significant increases in viewing as people tuned in natively within their smart TVs. Global share of smart TV viewing more than doubled as viewing time increased 239% year over year. Connected TV devices (Roku, Amazon Fire TV, etc.) saw a 61% increase and game consoles, a 55% increase in time spent streaming compared to the previous time period.

Smart TVs: Samsung commanded half of all viewing time via smart TV, followed by LG TVs with 23%, Vizio TVs with 11%, Android TVs with 8% and Amazon Fire TVs with 7%.

Connected TV Devices: Roku remained the leader among connected TV devices, capturing half of the total viewing time for the category. Amazon Fire TV captured 29%, Apple TV 8.7%, Chromecast 7.3%, Android TV 3.6% and Humax 1.3%.

Gaming Consoles: Sony PlayStation bested Microsoft Xbox in streaming viewership at slightly over 50% of viewing time versus Xbox’s 47%.

Connected TV devices had the largest share of viewing time in both North America (56%) and Europe (32%). In South America smart TVs (40%) has the largest share of viewing time, while in Asia (49%) and Africa (43%) desktops remain the primary streaming device.

YouTube is primarily watched on mobile devices which captured 59% share of time spent in Q2 2020. However, the trend towards TVs also impacted YouTube as viewing on connected TVs and consoles accounted for a 25% share of YouTube viewing in Q2 2020, a 69% increase from 16% share the prior Q2.

CEO: AMC Theatres in PVOD Discussions With Other Studios; Q2 Revenue Plummets 98.8%, Net Loss Skyrockets to $561 Million

On the heels of its landmark premium VOD agreement with Universal Pictures, AMC Theatres is reaching out to other studios in hopes of securing similar revenue-sharing deals, CEO Adam Aron disclosed Aug. 6 on the second-quarter (ended June 30) financial disclosure. AMC will share with Universal in all PVOD movie rental revenue 17 days after a title’s theatrical debut.

“AMC is an innovator and we are embracing change that we are confident will be financially beneficial for AMC shareholders,” Aron said in a statement. The CEO did not disclose the names of other studios AMC is in discussions with.

On the fiscal call, Aron said he had no issues with Disney removing Mulan from theatrical distribution to PVOD on Disney+. Calling Disney “no bigger friend” to AMC, Aron said the exhibitor and media giant had to do what’s in the best interest of their fiscal position during the pandemic.

“[Disney] provided us with more content last year than any other studio in the world.” Aron said. “As both companies do businesses, we will thrive.”

As expected, the world’s largest movie exhibitor saw its financial quarter decimated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has seen the majority of its 11,000 screen shuttered since mid-March.

With the chain generating just $18.9 million in revenue, which was down 98.8% from revenue of more than $1.5 billion in the previous-year period, AMC reported a net loss of $561.2 million — the worst in the company’s 100-year history.

“A once in a century event has transformed 2020 into a brutal year,” Aron said in a statement.

Indeed, the company spent the bulk of the quarter restructuring more than $2.6 billion in long-term debt. Aron said more than 130 theaters are operating in Europe and the Middle East — more than one-third AMC’s international theaters. Aron expects all screens to resume operations in the next two to three weeks.

“Theatrical exhibition has always been resilient, and we are confident that at AMC we are taking the right steps to emerge from this crisis and to thrive once again as the leader in our industry,” he said.

Paramount Home Entertainment Ups Q2 Revenue 30%

Home entertainment again proved to be an unspoken silver lining for a major studio under siege by a non-existent box office due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Paramount Home Entertainment on Aug. 6 reported $201 million in second-quarter (ended June 30) revenue, which was up nearly 30% from revenue of $161 million during the second quarter of 2019.

Through the first half of the fiscal year, sales of physical and digital content soared 21.5% at $383 million, compared to $315 million last year.

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Paramount Home Entertainment president Bob Buchi

Home entertainment revenue was driven by the mix of titles in release, including Sonic the Hedgehog, and higher sales of catalog titles such as Top Gun.

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As expected, theatrical revenue flatlined to $3 million due to theater closures, with half-year revenue at $170 million, down 52.4% from $324 million through the first six months of 2019.

Licensing revenue decreased 20% due to lower sales from licensing of catalog titles, as well as the timing of deliveries of programs produced for third parties. Notably, pre-tax studio earnings increased 22%, reflecting lower distribution costs resulting from the absence of theatrical releases in the quarter, as well as the strong performance of Hedgehog in the home entertainment market.

Parks: 30% of Broadband Users Prefer Home Entertainment Over Large Group Events

Re-opening of movie theaters and live sports events may not have that “build it and they will come” happy Hollywood ending. New data from Parks Associates finds 30% of domestic broadband households intend to avoid public events and large gatherings of people into 2021, due to concerns of exposure to the coronavirus.

Dallas-based Parks is tracking the impact of the pandemic on consumer behaviors, attitudes, and intentions in the consumer and home technology markets through multiple research projects, including the series “COVID-19: Impact on Consumer Behavior and Spending.”

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Parks contends consumers have cut discretionary spending by 50%, although consumer electronics and computer purchases have increased for the first time since 2011 due to increased numbers of people working from home.

“Seventy percent of U.S. broadband households believe the economy will need a long time to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and only 23% believe the economy will rebound quickly once social-distancing measures are lifted,” David Drury, research director of Parks Associates, said in a statement. “With record-level unemployment and continuing uncertainty about the future … changes in consumer behavior will not reverse in the near term, with 29% delaying vacations or personal travel till at least 2021.”

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While consumers are hesitant about spending, one area with solid purchase intentions is consumer electronics and the increased consumption of video at home. During the COVID-19 crisis, 26% of U.S. broadband households purchased electronics. Parks predicts that with an ongoing global pandemic, and worsening conditions in the United States, strong demand for technology products and services will continue into 2021 and potentially even 2022, including high broadband usage at home to deliver messaging, video calling, and virtual meeting applications; video game downloads; and streaming video services.

Currently, 74% of U.S. broadband households subscribe to at least one streaming video service, and almost half of U.S. broadband households subscribe to two or more.

Walmart Formally Bows Free Drive-In Parking Lot Movies

Walmart has officially launched its branded drive-in movie campaign taking place across 160 supercenter store parking lots throughout the Southeast, Midwest, Texas, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and New Jersey through October.

In an announcement on its Twitter page, Walmart said the pop-up drive-in program (in association with Tribeca Enterprises) will screen one select studio classic at various locations. Titles include Wonder Woman (2017), Spy Kids (2001), Space Jam (1996), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), Ghostbusters (1984), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Black Panther (2018), E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Friday Night Lights (2004).

Gates open at 6 p.m. and the screening begins at 7:30 p.m. No late entry is allowed. Tickets are free, but must be requested in advance. Tickets will not be available at the gate. Movie audio is transmitted via car radio or handheld FM radio receiver. No alcohol is permitted and moviegoers must wear face masks when leaving the automobile.

Walmart drive-in movie schedule:

Alabama
Attalla – 10/6/20
Attalla – 10/7/20
Gadsden – 10/9/20
Gadsden – 10/10/20

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Arkansas
Bentonville – 9/15/20
Bentonville – 9/16/20
Rogers – 9/18/20
Rogers – 9/19/20
Springdale – 9/22/20
Springdale – 9/23/20
Cabot – 9/25/20
Cabot – 9/26/20
Bryant – 9/29/20
Bryant – 9/30/20

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Colorado
Grand Junction – 9/11/20
Grand Junction – 9/12/20
Timnath – 9/15/20
Timnath – 9/16/20
Pueblo West – 9/18/20
Pueblo West – 9/19/20
Pueblo – 9/22/20
Pueblo – 9/23/20

Florida
Pinellas Park – 8/14/20
Pinellas Park – 8/15/20
Wesley Chapel – 8/18/20
Wesley Chapel – 8/19/20
Bradenton – 8/21/20
Bradenton – 8/22/20
Miami – 8/25/20
Miami – 8/26/20
Pembroke Pines – 8/28/20
Pembroke Pines – 8/29/20
Avon Park – 9/1/20
Avon Park – 9/2/20
Winter Haven – 9/4/20
Winter Haven – 9/5/20
Mulberry – 9/8/20
Mulberry – 9/9/20
Lakeland – 9/11/20
Lakeland – 9/12/20
Tampa – 9/15/20
Tampa – 9/16/20
Spring Hill – 9/18/20
Spring Hill – 9/19/20
Inverness – 9/22/20
Inverness – 9/23/20

Georgia
Statesboro – 9/25/20
Statesboro – 9/26/20
Athens – 10/13/20
Athens – 10/14/20
Loganville – 10/16/20
Warner Robins – 10/16/20
Loganville – 10/17/20
Warner Robins – 10/17/20
Columbus – 10/20/20
Fort Oglethorpe – 10/20/20
Columbus – 10/21/20
Fort Oglethorpe – 10/21/20

Illinois
Streamwood  – 8/14/20
Streamwood  – 8/15/20
Huntley  – 8/21/20
Huntley  – 8/22/20
DeKalb  – 8/25/20
DeKalb  – 8/26/20
Elgin  – 8/28/20
Elgin  – 8/29/20
Saint Charles  – 9/1/20
Saint Charles  – 9/2/20
Batavia  – 9/4/20
Batavia  – 9/5/20
Aurora  – 9/8/20
Aurora  – 9/9/20
New Lenox  – 9/11/20
New Lenox  – 9/12/20
Orland Hills  – 9/15/20
Orland Hills  – 9/16/20
Richton Park  – 9/18/20
Richton Park  – 9/19/20
Olympia Fields  – 9/22/20
Olympia Fields  – 9/23/20
Bourbonnais  – 9/29/20
Bourbonnais  – 9/30/20
Kankakee  – 10/2/20
Kankakee  – 10/3/20
Bloomington  – 10/6/20
Bloomington  – 10/7/20

Indiana
Hammond – 9/25/20
Hammond – 9/26/20
Muncie – 10/9/20
Muncie – 10/10/20
Richmond – 10/13/20
Richmond – 10/14/20
Evansville – 10/16/20
Evansville – 10/17/20
Evansville – 10/20/20
Evansville – 10/21/20

Kansas
Olathe – 8/14/20
Olathe – 8/15/20
Gardner – 8/18/20
Gardner – 8/19/20
Lawrence – 8/21/20
Lawrence – 8/22/20
Topeka – 8/25/20
Topeka – 8/26/20

Kentucky
Oak Grove – 9/18/20
Oak Grove – 9/19/20
Hopkinsville – 9/22/20
Hopkinsville – 9/23/20
Paducah – 9/25/20
Shepherdsville – 9/25/20
Paducah – 9/26/20
Shepherdsville – 9/26/20

Louisiana
Crowley – 10/2/20
Crowley – 10/3/20
New Iberia – 10/6/20
New Iberia – 10/7/20
Bossier City – 10/9/20
Bossier City – 10/10/20

Missouri
Raymore – 10/16/20
Raymore – 10/17/20
Sedalia – 10/20/20
Sedalia – 10/21/20

Mississippi
Tupelo – 10/2/20
Tupelo – 10/3/20
Nebraska
Bellevue – 8/28/20
Bellevue – 8/29/20

New Jersey
Linden – 8/14/20
Linden – 8/15/20

New Mexico
Las Cruces – 9/25/20
Las Cruces – 9/26/20
Las Cruces – 9/29/20
Las Cruces – 9/30/20

Nevada
Carson City – 8/21/20
Carson City – 8/22/20

Ohio
Amelia – 9/29/20
Amelia – 9/30/20
Akron – 10/2/20
Akron – 10/3/20

Oklahoma
Stillwater – 9/1/20
Stillwater – 9/2/20
Stillwater – 9/4/20
Stillwater – 9/5/20
Lawton – 9/8/20
Lawton – 9/9/20
Yukon – 9/11/20
Yukon – 9/12/20

Oregon
Grants Pass – 8/18/20
Grants Pass – 8/19/20

Pennsylvania
Beaver Falls – 10/6/20
Beaver Falls – 10/7/20
West Mifflin – 10/9/20
West Mifflin – 10/10/20
North Huntingdon – 10/13/20
North Huntingdon – 10/14/20

South Carolina
North Charleston – 9/29/20
North Charleston – 9/30/20
Goose Creek – 10/2/20
Goose Creek – 10/3/20
Sumter – 10/6/20
Sumter – 10/7/20
North Augusta – 10/9/20
North Augusta – 10/10/20
Spartanburg – 10/13/20
Spartanburg – 10/14/20

Tennessee
Nashville – 8/18/20
Nashville – 8/19/20
Franklin – 8/21/20
Franklin – 8/22/20
Smyrna – 8/25/20
Smyrna – 8/26/20
La Vergne – 8/28/20
La Vergne – 8/29/20
Mount Juliet – 9/1/20
Mount Juliet – 9/2/20
Madison – 9/4/20
Madison – 9/5/20
Elizabethton – 9/8/20
Gallatin – 9/8/20
Elizabethton – 9/9/20
Gallatin – 9/9/20
Knoxville – 9/11/20
White House – 9/11/20
Knoxville – 9/12/20
White House – 9/12/20
Clarksville – 9/15/20
Knoxville – 9/15/20
Clarksville – 9/16/20
Knoxville – 9/16/20
Clinton – 9/18/20
Clinton – 9/19/20
Bristol – 9/22/20
Bristol – 9/23/20
Cleveland – 9/29/20
Cleveland – 9/30/20

Texas
Houston – 8/14/20
Prosper – 8/14/20
Houston – 8/15/20
Prosper – 8/15/20
New Caney – 8/18/20
Plano – 8/18/20
New Caney – 8/19/20
Plano – 8/19/20
Colony – 8/21/20
Spring – 8/21/20
Colony – 8/22/20
Spring – 8/22/20
College Station – 8/25/20
Frisco – 8/25/20
College Station – 8/26/20
Frisco – 8/26/20
Hickory Creek – 8/28/20
Katy – 8/28/20
Hickory Creek – 8/29/20
Katy – 8/29/20
Richmond – 9/1/20
Roanoke – 9/1/20
Richmond – 9/2/20
Roanoke – 9/2/20
Bedford – 9/4/20
Richmond – 9/4/20
Bedford – 9/5/20
Richmond – 9/5/20
Grand Prairie – 9/8/20
Pearland – 9/8/20
Grand Prairie – 9/9/20
Pearland – 9/9/20
Harker Heights – 9/11/20
Pearland – 9/11/20
Harker Heights – 9/12/20
Pearland – 9/12/20
Killeen – 9/15/20
La Marque – 9/15/20
Killeen – 9/16/20
La Marque – 9/16/20
Boerne – 9/18/20
League City – 9/18/20
Boerne – 9/19/20
League City – 9/19/20
Pasadena – 9/22/20
San Antonio – 9/22/20
Pasadena – 9/23/20
San Antonio – 9/23/20
San Antonio – 9/25/20
Vidor – 9/25/20
San Antonio – 9/26/20
Vidor – 9/26/20
San Antonio – 9/29/20
West Orange – 9/29/20
San Antonio – 9/30/20
West Orange – 9/30/20
McKinney – 10/2/20
San Angelo – 10/2/20
Schertz – 10/2/20
McKinney – 10/3/20
San Angelo – 10/3/20
Schertz – 10/3/20
Corpus Christi – 10/6/20
Irving – 10/6/20
San Angelo – 10/6/20
Corpus Christi – 10/7/20
Irving – 10/7/20
San Angelo – 10/7/20
Irving – 10/9/20
Rockwall – 10/9/20
Waco – 10/9/20
Irving – 10/10/20
Rockwall – 10/10/20
Waco – 10/10/20
Bellmead – 10/13/20
Denton – 10/13/20
Kilgore – 10/13/20
Wylie – 10/13/20
Bellmead – 10/14/20
Denton – 10/14/20
Kilgore – 10/14/20
Wylie – 10/14/20
Killeen – 10/16/20
Sherman – 10/16/20
Tyler – 10/16/20
Killeen – 10/17/20
Sherman – 10/17/20
Tyler – 10/17/20
Denison – 10/20/20
Murphy – 10/20/20
Tyler – 10/20/20
Denison – 10/21/20
Murphy – 10/21/20
Tyler – 10/21/20

Utah
Syracuse – 8/25/20
Syracuse – 8/26/20
American Fork – 8/28/20
American Fork – 8/29/20
Lindon – 9/1/20
Lindon – 9/2/20
Springville – 9/4/20
Springville – 9/5/20
Payson – 9/8/20
Payson – 9/9/20

Virginia
Virginia Beach – 8/18/20
Virginia Beach – 8/19/20
Richmond – 8/21/20
Richmond – 8/22/20
Roanoke – 8/25/20
Roanoke – 8/26/20

West Virginia
Beckley – 8/28/20
Beckley – 8/29/20
Hurricane – 9/1/20
Hurricane – 9/2/20
Huntington – 9/4/20
Huntington – 9/5/20
Morgantown – 10/16/20
Morgantown – 10/17/20
Morgantown – 10/20/20
Morgantown – 10/21/20

Cinemark Posts $170 Million Q2 Loss

When your movie theaters generate just $37,000 in revenue over 90 days, the bottom line turns crimson. That’s the fiscal scenario exhibitor Cinemark disclosed Aug. 4, reporting a second-quarter loss of $170 million on revenue of $8.9 million. How bad was the quarter? Concession revenue ($124,000) topped ticket sales by 235%.

During the previous-year period, Cinemark generated nearly $102 million in net income on revenue of $958 million. The dreary quarter underscored ongoing challenges exhibitors face with business models shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Built into the fiscal loss was a restructuring charge of $19.5 million. The charge was a result of a permanent reduction in headcount and permanent closure of certain underperforming theaters.

Headquartered in Plano, Texas, Cinemark operates 554 theaters and 6,132 screens in the U.S. and Latin America. CEO Mark Zoradi claims consumers are champing at the bit to return to movie theaters, citing an internal survey that that found 97% of respondents had “high satisfaction” how the company would protect their health and safety.

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“We greatly look forward to initiating the rollout of our theaters, beginning Aug. 21 as we welcome our employees and guests back to our theaters for great cinematic storytelling,” Zoradi said in a statement.

AMC Theatres Reduces Debt Load by $553 Million

With $2.6 billion in long-term debt and enduring a shuttered business during the coronavirus pandemic, AMC Theatres has been a sitting duck in bankruptcy crosshairs.

The nation’s largest exhibitor Aug. 3 announced it has successfully restructured its debt load with 87% of its senior subordinated note holders — in a deal that gives the exhibitor upwards of $415 million in cash and “liquidity improvements” in the next 18 months.

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“Now we can focus solely on the all-important task of opening our theaters in the U.S., Europe and Middle East safely and responsibly,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement.

AMC repeatedly delayed re-opening screens in the U.S. due to spikes in COVID-19 infections. The latest restart is slated for sometime this month.

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Data: Moviegoing Demand Strong in Europe; Less So in U.S.

As movie theaters slowly open worldwide following months-long closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, new data from online content recommendation service JustWatch finds consumer interest in returning to the cineplex stronger in Europe than in the U.S.

The French, followed by the U.K. and Germany, are the most enthusiastic about returning to cinemas, while consumer demand in the U.S. remains tentative — likely due to the ongoing scale of the COVID-19 crisis.

Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, contends consumers won’t feel safe returning to movie theaters until a vaccine has been developed.

“People may be eager to visit the theaters once they feel safe doing so, but we think it is unlikely crowds will return to any semblance of normal before a vaccine is widely distributed, particularly in urban and suburban markets,” Pachter wrote in a recent note.

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Among moviegoers, abundant supply of free hand sanitizer and socially distant seating seem to be the must-have requirements for people to feel safe when returning to cinemas.

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Pandemic-Shortened MLB Season Opens to Strong TV Ratings

Major League Baseball proved to be a home entertainment winner, delivering strong TV ratings on its opening weekend of games July 23-26. Citing a lack of competing sports (the NBA and NHL re-started their seasons July 30 and Aug. 1, respectively) and a fanbase starved for live competition, MLB said viewership was double than during the previous-year weekend.

The first 12 games of the truncated 60-game season broadcast on ESPN reportedly averaged 1.16 million viewers, which was up 34% from last year. The July 23 league opener featuring the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals generated 4 million viewers, the highest for a regular-season game since 2011.

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Nielsen said ratings for regional sports networks carrying non-national televised games saw rating increase 31% opening weekend and 18% across 25 markets through July 29.

“Whatever challenges were presented by the absence of fans was very much outweighed by the optimism,” Michael Mulvihill, head of strategy and analytics at Fox Sports, told The Wall Street Journal. “There was the expectation of a great, pent-up appetite for baseball.”

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That said, a spike in coronavirus infections among players on the Miami Marlins threatens to derail a season that is already played live in empty stadiums. The infections have caused postponement of 33 games through Aug. 2.

The St. Louis Cardinals remained quarantined in their Milwaukee hotel for a third day following four confirmed COVID-19 cases.

“You have to flatten the curve before you can move forward,” John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations for the Cardinals, told a local radio show. “So over the last couple days, we’ve been trending in the wrong direction, and hopefully we get some better news today.”

Amazon CFO: Studio Investment Slowed Due to COVID-19

Despite outsized revenue in its most-recent fiscal quarter, Amazon July 30 disclosed it has slowed investment in studio productions largely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The studio spent about $6 billion on original content in 2019, a figure it was expected to expand in 2020 before the pandemic, while not matching Netflix’s reported $17 billion+ content budget.

Speaking on the fiscal call, CFO Brian Brian Olsavsky said spending reductions at Amazon Studios have not been done for cost savings, but rather for “people reasons.”

Olsavsky said Amazon Studios, like most studios, has delayed productions of original TV shows and movies due to COVID-19, a reality that prompted rollout of Amazon Cinema, which offered Prime members access to new-release movies at premium VOD pricing.

“In this time when people want entertainment, people are having trouble creating new content across the board, which is a bit of a challenge,” he said. “It’s not something we’re doing intentionally. It’s something we’re doing to protect the actors and film crews. We think that is the right decision.”

Olsavsky, without giving specifics, said some things have changed in the “entertainment area” due to the pandemic and that Amazon Studios is adapting to changes in consumer access and acquisition of home entertainment.

“[Home] entertainment is seeing usage growth [due to the pandemic],” he said. “It’s a bifurcated world out there.”