Amazon Spark: New Social Feed of Product Images, Stories

Now out of beta, Amazon launched a new social feature in the U.S. yesterday that is designed to return social activity surrounding products back to the Amazon site while hopefully improving product discovery for its users. Similar to the approach of Instagram’s shoppable photos, Amazon Spark allows users to post images, new ideas and related posts regarding products they find interesting. To foster social interaction, other users can respond with their own comments and “smiles” — Amazon’s take on “favorite” and “like” buttons. Continue reading Amazon Spark: New Social Feed of Product Images, Stories

Amazon: Prime, Other Subscription Services Earn $6.4 Billion

For the first time, Amazon is revealing earnings from its Prime membership program as well as other subscription services, in a 77-page document. Up until now, the company has been tight-lipped on such numbers, leaving investors to wonder how these important services are faring. The last time Amazon revealed numbers, in April 2015, it detailed the profitability of its Amazon Web Services, resulting in analysts and investors bumping the company’s value upwards. Since then, shares in Amazon have more than doubled. Continue reading Amazon: Prime, Other Subscription Services Earn $6.4 Billion

Amazon Ramps Up its Google Rivalry with New Video Service

Amazon is taking on Google with the launch of its Video Direct ad-supported video service, which allows anyone to upload original or licensed video content, similar to the YouTube model. Amazon account holders will have the options of offering their content for free, to rent or own, via a subscription channel, or exclusively to Amazon Prime members. The move is another step in Amazon’s push into media as the company continues to invest in original programming and exclusive deals with the likes of HBO and Epix, while introducing a month-by-month subscription option to compete with Netflix. Continue reading Amazon Ramps Up its Google Rivalry with New Video Service

Amazon Offers New Monthly Subs, No Annual Commitment

Amazon unveiled two new Prime plans on its website, introducing a video-only option for monthly subscribers. The new offering could ramp up the competition between its video service and Netflix. The first new plan costs $8.99 per month to stream TV shows and movies through a video-only version of Prime, while the second runs $10.99 per month for all Prime benefits, including video and music streaming, free two-day shipping on Amazon purchases, and more. Amazon hopes to reach consumers that have been reluctant to pay $99 up front for an annual Prime membership. Continue reading Amazon Offers New Monthly Subs, No Annual Commitment

Prime Now Delivery Service Expands to Baltimore and Miami

Amazon’s Prime Now one-hour delivery service, which launched last year in Manhattan as a benefit to Prime members and recently expanded to more New York neighborhoods, is now available in select areas of Baltimore and Miami. From 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, seven days a week, the service offers free two-hour delivery, and one-hour delivery in select zip codes for a $7.99 charge. Prime members interested in the ultrafast delivery service can download the Prime Now app, available for iOS and Android. Continue reading Prime Now Delivery Service Expands to Baltimore and Miami

Amazon Announces Streaming 4K Content for Prime Members

Amazon Prime members who enjoy free two-day shipping and unlimited streaming of music and video can soon add Ultra HD to their subscription perks. Amazon announced yesterday that it is releasing a catalog of television shows and movies that stream in 4K, joining Netflix in a move that may provide consumers with another reason to consider a UHD TV purchase. Current UHD models offered by LG, Samsung and Sony feature a built-in chip capable of decoding 4K video streamed from Amazon. Continue reading Amazon Announces Streaming 4K Content for Prime Members

Amazon Announces its Kindle Unlimited, the Netflix for Books

Amazon announced its new Kindle Unlimited, a $9.99 per month unlimited reading and listening service that provides access to more than 600,000 Kindle books and thousands of audiobooks from Audible. It will be available for the Kindle as well as iOS and Android mobile devices through the Amazon Kindle app. Analysts suggest that the service, which will compete with existing ebook subscription services Scribd and Oyster, could spark as much as $1 billion in growth for Amazon. Continue reading Amazon Announces its Kindle Unlimited, the Netflix for Books

Amazon Launches Ad-Free, Streaming “Prime Music” Service

As expected, Amazon has launched Prime Music featuring more than one million songs and hundreds of playlists. The new service offers unlimited streaming without ads or restrictions. It is free to Amazon Prime members and could potentially help attract new subscribers (those who are interested can sign up for a free 30-day trial). Prime members can also listen to downloaded music offline on their Kindle Fire, HDX, iOS, Android and Mac/PC devices via Amazon’s Cloud Player. Continue reading Amazon Launches Ad-Free, Streaming “Prime Music” Service

Amazon Readies Launch of First Smartphone with Prime Data

Amazon’s first smartphone, to be released this summer, is expected to offer a unique wireless data plan called “Prime Data.” The phone will feature hardware-assisted 3D effects, four low-power infrared cameras to track the user’s head in relation to the display, and new no-touch gesture controls. It is possible that Amazon’s phone could be made exclusive to AT&T in the U.S., which would result in the first deal based on the “Sponsored Data” program. Continue reading Amazon Readies Launch of First Smartphone with Prime Data

Amazon Prime Ready to Launch its Anticipated Music Service

Amazon has reportedly reached agreements with record labels in order to launch a streaming music service by June or July. The Prime music service does not plan to feature recent song releases, but will offer a catalog of tracks and albums that are six months old and older — providing an additional benefit to Prime members who already enjoy access to movies and TV shows via Instant Video, an e-books lending library, and free two-day shipping on products ordered through the retail site. Continue reading Amazon Prime Ready to Launch its Anticipated Music Service

Netflix Turns to Original Series and Licensing 5-Star Content

According to Netflix CFO David Wells, the streaming service plans on spending $3.2 billion on streaming content in 2014. Netflix acknowledged that a large fraction of the currently available material is not necessarily popular with its audience and plans to spend more money on shows with higher potential. A content shift through the next few quarters toward more original series along with licensing exclusive and higher-rated shows will account for this extra spending. Continue reading Netflix Turns to Original Series and Licensing 5-Star Content

AOL Launching Ad-Supported Streaming Video with Miramax

AOL announced it will launch a free streaming movie service through a new agreement with Miramax that will make Miramax’s library of films available to stream online and on mobile devices. Film selections will be refreshed each month. AOL’s new homepage video portal features clips from Moviefone, Huffpost Live, ESPN, Conde Nast and others. Through the new deal, AOL users will also have the ability to add Miramax titles to their rotation of news and entertainment video. Continue reading AOL Launching Ad-Supported Streaming Video with Miramax

HBO Signs Exclusive Licensing Pact with Amazon Prime Service

In a first of its kind deal for Time Warner’s HBO, the premium cable channel has agreed to license older episodes of its programming to Amazon Prime’s subscription streaming service. The agreement is the first such HBO deal with an online video provider, and will make original series such as “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” available for online streaming. Prior to this deal, HBO shows were only available for digital purchase through Amazon or Apple’s iTunes, or via rental services such as Netflix. Continue reading HBO Signs Exclusive Licensing Pact with Amazon Prime Service

Rentrak Reports Increase in VOD Broadcast Prime Time Viewing

TV and film measurement service Rentrak recently released its latest “State of VOD” report, which found that free video-on-demand viewing of prime time broadcast television programming increased 24 percent over the same period last year. The Rentrak report also found that 66 percent of prime time program viewing occurred after the third day of original broadcasts, suggesting that there is increased opportunity to generate additional advertising dollars for VOD. Continue reading Rentrak Reports Increase in VOD Broadcast Prime Time Viewing

Streaming Video: Amazon No Netflix, But Tops Apple and Hulu

Amazon recently released statistics that show its Prime Instant Video streaming service has tripled since last year, and is now more popular than Apple and Hulu. Despite its growth, Amazon is still dramatically far behind Netflix and YouTube. According to a recent report from Qwilt, a provider of online-video delivery and caching solutions, Netflix is currently the number one streaming video site, representing more than 57 percent of the streaming market in March, while YouTube follows in second. Continue reading Streaming Video: Amazon No Netflix, But Tops Apple and Hulu

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