Amazon Prime Video’s NFL Deal Ends; League Coy on Successor

Amazon Prime Video has streamed NFL Thursday Night Football for the past two seasons. Whether that groundbreaking deal is renewed remains up in the air, according to media reports.

Prime Video, unlike Netflix or Hulu, has embraced live sports recently signing exclusive rights to English Premier League soccer. The New York Yankees reportedly are in discussions with Amazon to become the first MLB team to stream games directly to viewers who don’t have a pay-TV subscription.

The NFL is concerned whether Amazon can handle the capacity required to stream games to millions of viewers simultaneously. An interesting concerns considering ESPN’s challenges streaming the Clemson, LSU college football national championship game on Jan. 13.

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“What Amazon’s doing over the next few weeks in the U.K. with their Premier League package will be very interesting to watch,” Brian Rolapp, EVP, media with the NFL, told an confab last month, as reported by Sports Business Daily. “They’re getting some pretty high ‘concurrents’ there.”

Rolapp said the NFL doubted any streaming service had the capacity to handle 25 million people simultaneously streaming a single game, much less in high-definition.

“It’s not just technical capacity the league is looking for. Production and promotion are just as important, he said. “In order to hold an NFL package, you’re … going to have to be able to distribute it at a high level of quality — no fan is going to accept less than HD, high-res all the time. You’re going to have to sell it from an advertising standpoint and market it. So we need to see that from any partner, and be satisfied with that before we entrust any game package to them.”

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Regardless, it’s likely money will play as important consideration going forward. Both DAZN and YouTube TV have expressed interest in football, with the latter a sponsor and distributor of Major League Baseball post-season games and World Series.

DAZN, of course, inked an exclusive deal with Mexican fighter Canelo Alvarez worth a reported $365 million.

Rolapp told the confab the NFL remains primarily interested in reaching viewers and fans across multiple distribution channels.

“We will not sacrifice reach for something less valuable, including a higher rights fee,” he said. “We will maximize our reach. We think we can get both, but the reach is really important.”

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.

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.

Final Season of ‘Poldark’ Streaming on PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Sept. 30

PBS Distribution debuts the fifth and final season of “Poldark” on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel Sept. 30.

It’s a new century and with it comes the promise of a hopeful future, but the past casts a long shadow over Cornwall. Following the death of Elizabeth, Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) resolves to put Westminster behind him and spend more time with the people he loves. However, when an old friend needs help, Ross is compelled to challenge the establishment and question his own loyalties to king and country. As the Enyses (Luke Norris and Gabriella Wilde) rally to join the cause, Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) must contend with dangers close to home, while George (Jack Farthing) courts corrupt powers whose influence spans the Empire.

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The subscription rate for PBS Masterpiece is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Amazon Punts on Ad-Supported Prime Video

As early pioneers of subscription video-on-demand, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu command a lions share of North American over-the-top video consumers.

Yet other than Hulu’s basic subscription plan, none of the services feature advertising – despite collectively having more than 100 million domestic subs.

With original content costs skyrocketing, industry analysts contend it’s only a matter of time before Netflix & Co. welcome Madison Ave.’s fiscal largess.

When asked on the July 25 fiscal call whether Amazon (i.e. Prime Video) might become a “bigger player” in video advertising, Dave Fildes, director of investor relations, largely avoided giving a straight answer.

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“We’ve taken some steps with live sports and [ad-supported subsidiary] IMDb TV, but we’ll continue to do things like add more OTT video supply, things like Amazon Publisher Services integrations and simplifying access for third-party apps and add more inventory through things like Fire TV apps and IMDb TV,” Fildes said.

Translation: Don’t expect to see ads on Prime Video anytime soon.

Instead, Amazon plans to focus ad-revenue growth through a suite of cloud-based platforms such as Publisher Services, which feature “transparent” ad marketplaces for mobile apps and intel “insights” on third-party consumers, among other features.

“It’s a matter of continuing to work with advertisers and brands and kind of building up not only awareness, but how things like sponsored products interact with customers and how they [perceive] them,” Fildes said.

Indeed, Netflix contends subscribers would react negatively to ads.

“We believe we will have a more valuable business in the long term by staying out of competing for ad revenue and instead entirely focusing on competing for viewer satisfaction,” CEO Reed Hastings said on the SVOD behemoth’s recent call.

At the same time, NBC Universal is rolling out a branded ad-supported streaming service next April for Xfinity subscribers. Non-subs will be able to pay for access.

“Our service is … a very innovative way of coming into the market,” Steve Burke, CEO of NBC Universal, said on Comcast’s July 25 fiscal call.

 

 

Amazon Ups Q2 Prime Subscription Revenue 37%, Online Media Sales 14%

Amazon July 25 said it increased second-quarter (ended June 30) Prime subscription revenue 37% to $4.67 billion from $3.4 billion during the previous-year period.

Subscription revenue 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.

The Prime membership also includes free access to Amazon Prime Video streaming service.

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Online store sales increased 14% to $31 billion from $27.1 billion last year.

Online stores revenue includes 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.

In the quarter Amazon Prime Video received 47 Emmy nominations for its original programming, more than double from last year, including 20 nominations for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and 11 nominations for “Fleabag.”

Prime Video premiered the Jonas Brothers documentary Chasing Happiness, and original series, “Good Omens,” based on the novel by Neil Gaiman.

In addition, Prime Video is set to debut original series “The Boys,” from creators Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen on July 26, and “Carnival Row,” starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne, among others, on Aug. 30.

 

Season Four of “Grantchester,” Season One of “Walter Presents: Killer by the Lake” Coming in July to PBS Masterpiece’s Prime Video Channel

Two murder mystery crime thrillers, Grantchester: Season 4 and Walter Presents: Killer by the Lake — Season 1, will begin streaming in July on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel.

The fourth season of “Grantchester,” streaming starting July 15, marks the final appearance of James Norton as crime-solving Vicar Sidney Chambers and introduces Tom Brittney (“Outlander,” “Call the Midwife”) as new cast member Reverend Will Davenport.

Walter Presents: Killer by the Lake, Season 1

“Walter Presents: Killer by The Lake” is the follow up to the hit French thriller, “Vanished by the Lake.” The series revisits troubled detective Lise who has started a new life with her husband and baby. The happy, rural idyll is suddenly shattered with the discovery of two dead women. Season one starts streaming July 19.

The subscription rate for the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Cox Adds Amazon Prime Video Access to Contour

Cox Communications has added access to Amazon Prime Video for its Contour customers, according to a Cox press release.

By simply saying “Amazon Prime Video” or “Prime Video” into their Contour voice remote, customers can watch Amazon Originals such as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Hanna,” ‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” “Guava Island,” “Homecoming” and “The Man in the High Castle,” as well as other Amazon Prime content.

“When it’s time to enjoy your favorite streaming content, just say the word and we’ll serve it up on your screen. It has never been easier to find and enjoy favorite TV shows, movies and video clips all in one place,” said Kevin Hart, EVP and chief product and technology officer for Cox in a statement. “We’ve removed the complexity that comes with toggling, switching inputs or the necessity of watching on a smaller screen. Now all you have to do is say the name of your favorite Prime Video show or movie into your Contour remote and it will appear on your TV.”

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“Prime Video is committed to making our customers’ favorite shows, movies and live sports effortless to watch,” said Andrew Bennett, head of worldwide business development for Prime Video in a statement. “Bringing the Prime Video app to Contour gives our Prime members even more ways to stream Amazon Originals including the upcoming launches of Good Omens and Chasing Happiness, the Jonas Brothers’ documentary.”

The Contour voice remote also allows customers access to the series page by saying the name of the series.

In addition to Amazon Prime, Contour customers can use the voice remote to pull up live TV content, recorded DVR content, Netflix content and YouTube content.

‘Reborn,’ ‘The Court’ and ‘Rough Justice’ From ‘Walter Presents’ Library Streaming in May From PBS

PBS Distribution will begin streaming three international crime dramas from the “Walter Presents” library on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in May.

The channel is available to Prime members for $5.99 a month after a seven-day free trial.

Streaming beginning May 10 is “Reborn,” a French crime-thriller taking witness-protection to a whole new level. Felon Alexis Marceau gives up his criminal friends in exchange for immunity. With his new identity, he also has reconstructive surgery to make him unidentifiable. Six years later, he is known as Matthias Leblanc. He is working in Turin, Italy, as a construction worker when judge Delphine Baron offers to revoke his house arrest, in exchange for three months of service. This means working undercover at his old job where he and his partner ran a small shipping business controlling the traffic of illicit goods. Matthias is hesitant but accepts — no one knows he’s alive or will recognize his new face. But he knows the people, place and methods better than anyone. Once undercover and back in Dunkirk, Alexis struggles to keep away from his ex-wife and son. And to make matters worse, his affection for his old life returns — the camaraderie, the easy money and the adrenaline.

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Streaming beginning May 24 is the second season of “The Court.” The Icelandic legal drama follows the professional and personal lives of three Reykjavik lawyers — Logi, Brynhildur and Hordur. Logi is one of the country’s most brilliant legal minds and the most troubled. He’s determined to uncover the truth about what really happened one night in his youth, an incident that left a man dead and Logi in prison for manslaughter. However, his internal demons threaten to send him spiraling into alcoholism. Standing between Logi and self-destruction are his two lawyer colleagues — Brynhildur and Hordur — whose own private lives are far from simple.

Streaming beginning May 31 is the Belgian crime drama “Rough Justice.” Set in Antwerp, Belgium, the series, based on the novels by Toni Coppers, follows superintendent Liese Meerhout as she leads her close-knit team in the homicide division to the bottom of the city’s darkest crimes. Always seeking to protect the vulnerable and maintain justice, she is not afraid to push the boundaries to get to the bottom of even the most complex cases — usually using unorthodox methods. But when haunting emails from an anonymous sender start appearing in her inbox, a case she thought she had long put behind her resurfaces, and the usually steely and implacable superintendent becomes unnerved.

Amazon to Cut Prime Two-day Shipping to One Day

Amazon created the free shipping business model over two days for Prime members. Now, the ecommerce giant plans to cut that shipping time to one day worldwide.

Speaking April 25 on the fiscal call, CFO Brian Olsavsky said Amazon would spend upwards of $800 million in current second quarter on fulfillment expenses related to cutting the shipping window in half.

Amazon said it generated the largest number of new Prime members in 2018, due in large part to free shipping on more than 100 million items.

The company currently offers one-day, same-day and two-hour (Prime Now) shipping on select items for an additional fee. Most free shipments are two-day.

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“Our goal is to evolve the two-day shipping program into the one-day shipping program,” Olsavsky said. “We think that will open up a lot of potential purchases. We expect to make steady progress quickly and through the year.”

He said the switch would requiring building-out shipping capacity both internally and with third-party services such as UPS and the U.S. Post Office.

“We’ll just have to see what changes have to be made to get more selection into that one-day category,” Olsavsky said.

Amazon last year became the largest single customer for Mercedes Sprinter vans in the world — a purchase it has incorporated into a branded Prime delivery fleet.

“We really think it will be groundbreaking for Prime customers,” Olsavksy said.