Tags Posts tagged with "Amazon"

Amazon

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Streaming and retail service jumps to a new genre live sports

Is 50 million worth it for Amazon Thursday Night Football package? It is definitely something to take notice of. But it is not exclusive access. Apparently the water got too hot for Twitter, who paid 10 million for the rights last year. The biggest online retailer in the US may be trying to make the kind of move that Fox made when it grabbed the NFC broadcast rights from CBS back in the 1990’s. Let me tell you something, Amazon better not miss the chance to sign Deion Sanders s the perfect spokesmen.

Will it be worth more to Amazon than it was to Twitter?

It better be. Amazon has paid 40 million more than Twitter did. But it could prove to be a much more worthwhile

Amazon recently announced branded TV’s NFL fans will be able to use them for games next season.

investment. Why? Because it is a very good marriage of need and capability. There is a market for premium sports streaming options and Twitter was an awkward fit. While it could have been a hugely successful pickup the capability was almost forgotten about by the end of the season. I expected to see trending hashtags like “#TDonTwitter or #CanyoubelievethatBSCALL!. Instead, fans had to learn how to properly search for the game on the short burst style platform. Even more, Twitter had to create TV styled apps for people to watch on connected devices.  Amazon, on the other hand, has the platform. All It has to do is add a row of categories to the home screen of its apps or the Fire OS. The addition of NFL football as a Prime benefit vastly expands the appeal of the program. With the NFL Amazon can now offer free shipping (sometimes same day), Free Movies and TV Shows, a music service, sports eBooks and audio books. People already associate Amazon with television and the living room so they should not have a hard time getting their heads around the idea of watching sports through the service.

 

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If Amazon is releasing a new device that will be priced between the Fire TV Stick and the Fire TV Box the new Amazon Streaming Product has nothing to do with the Google Chromecast. It is about advancing a proven strategy that Amazon and Roku have used for years now. Flooding the market with multiple devices at multiple price points and creating customers for other services in the process.

New way forward

If a new device rolls out, it would be the first time Amazon would have three streaming products on the market. It would also mark the adoption of a strategy that Roku has employed for years. Roku has been flooding the market with multiple products at various price points since its early days. This has allowed the company to reach a large audience with five products starting at $29.99 for the Roku Express and reaching as much as $129.99 for the Roku Ultra. This means anybody can own a Roku. As the price range increases the performance increases as well. But in the case of Amazon this may not be the case. The hook as far as the new Amazon streaming product goes is that it may deliver 4k HDR video.

New Amazon Streaming Product
New Amazon Streaming Product would be the third Amazon Streamer on the market.

At the moment, the Fire TV stick is an immensely popular item (more popular than the Fire TV box). It offers 1080p video and a small form factor with an Alexa powered remote for $39.99. Is there a demand for something more expensive? I’m not so sure. Even more is this technology really going to be exclusive to the new model? Why put buyers in a position to purchase a less expensive model in that delivers superior video performance? I bet it won’t. I think there is a very strong possibility that the new product, if it is going to happen, will be announced with an HDR capable Fire TV box. Otherwise, the new product could affect sales of the Fire TV box on top of the sales of the Fire TV Stick.

Amazon is concerned with not just hardware sales but service sales 

If the goal is to encourage more spending with multiple price points the strategy will likely work for the company. It is a matter of putting a store onto a user’s TV. Amazon always offers users a chance to sign up for an Amazon Prime trial. Free trials can easily be forgotten before they are over. In Amazon’s case the free trial is a chance to cash in $100.00 on anyone who buys the item. Think about it. A customer buys a Fire TV Stick, gets the offer of a free month of Amazon Prime with free shipping, movies and tv shows across a variety of devices and access to books etc. All they have to do is not cancel within 30 days and they are charged. Well once they have already paid for a year of free shipping they may as well get that next item on the Christmas shopping list or home needs

Think about it. A customer buys a Fire TV Stick, gets the offer of a free month of Amazon Prime with free shipping, movies and tv shows across a variety of devices and access to books etc. All they have to do is not cancel within 30 days and they are charged. Well once they have already paid for a year of free shipping they may as well get that next item on the Christmas shopping list or home needs list from Amazon. Amazon knows that prime members purchase more from Amazon than non-prime members. There is nothing wrong with this business model, but to ignore the possibility that this is the aim of any new Fire TV product is not seeing the forest for the trees.

 

 

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Without providing detailed statistics Amazon announced that the Amazon Channels program, which allows Amazon Prime users to subscribe to partner streaming services and be billed directly through Amazon, has proven to be a very successful for the company and its customers claiming that Amazon Prime members have signed up for millions of subscriptions to partner services like Showtime, STARZ and Acorn. The participating streaming services can be access directly through the Amazon video app multiple devices and allow users to access their entertainment in one place.  

Not surprisingly, STARZ, which has proven to have quite an audience in the premium TV space over the past five years, is one of the big winners in this space proving to be the most watch subscription available through Amazon Channels. Another, not exactly bombshell finding, is that HBO is the fastest growing channel amongst nearly 100. HBO, which jumped in with Amazon only a few weeks ago has been pushing HBO Now to pick up on the 20 million households who do not currently subscribe to cable or satellite services.  HBO has long been the gold standard for premium TV and the extra boost the service gets from being featured by Amazon is likely educating a number of people who never understood the difference between HBO Now and HBO Go, which is the network’s TV everywhere offering for customers who subscribe through a pay TV service.  

Check out the announced findings bellow to learn more.

  • Most watched subscription – Starz
  • Fastest growing subscription – HBO
  • Most streamed Movie – Inside Out (Starz)
  • Most streamed TV show – Outlander (Starz)
  • Most streamed comedy – Shameless (Showtime)
  • Most streamed kids show – Wild Kratts (PBS KIDS)
  • Most streamed exercise video – Burn to the Beat: Brazilian Booty Burn Workout (BeFit)

 

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When the news broke that the cable industry would no longer have a monopoly on set-top boxes to provide cable services a number of consumers cheered the news in the hopes that soon their favorite streaming boxes will be able to substitute for the bulky boxes they have been using for service. While there are mechanisms in place that may allow that to happen like standalone apps and other innovations that may come down the line there are probably a few reasons why both set-top box makers and cable providers are not excited about the future. Should consumers be concerned what may be coming down the line? Will Third Party Set-Top Boxes For Cable Cause More Problems Than They Solve?

Troubleshooting
Third party applications and equipment can be a major issue when it comes to troubleshooting. As much as someone might dislike that say their cable modem or set-top box often come from the cable company you cannot deny that when there is some sort of delivery problem the fact that the equipment can be accessed, explored and reset from remote locations is very helpful. When I have problems with my cable modem and call TWC we can talk about the problem in the same way. “What lights are on?” “What color is the light on the bottom?” “Is it blinking or solid?” This is why, even though I know I get charged for the modem, that I don’t have my own. Because I don’t want to be responsible for fixing it, changing security settings and so on. A perfect example is after a recent trip to New York City we returned to find our Wireless internet connection was disabled. Our devices could no longer see our network. I called TWC and they reset the system, renamed the network, logged in a new password and made sure all of my devices were again connected in about 20 minutes. I can’t imagine how annoying it would have been to trouble shoot everything myself when all I wanted to do was have a coke after a 4-day trip.

Are existing set-top boxes built to handle the service?
When Netflix does not work even though the internet is in full working order the problem is likely one of two things. Either the device you are accessing the service on is not working correctly or there is a problem with the service on the provider end. When I had a problem with my Netflix using a Roku last year I was able to call Netflix. I explained the problem and they knew that there was an existing problem for Roku and fixed it in minutes. Netflix has apps for seemingly everything and is even integrated into some cable boxes these days. But regardless of the number of partners it has the relationship is easy enough to figure out. Now let’s say that every cable provider was responsible for providing an app or some other delivery system for every set-top box available that allowed for full live TV with a full cable grid, on demand capability and so on just like they do on the devices they currently use. We are not talking about an app. It is an ecosystem. And they equipment currently used is built to do this. Is a Roku 1? What about an Amazon Fire TV or a random Android box? No. They are designed to deliver apps. If something is built as a workaround it may provide some level of service but would it work the same on all of the platforms?

When it’s broken where is it broken?
With the current model, providers can tell if their box is not working. They know how to fix it. They can train a staff with less than stunning technical knowhow to walk customers through steps in order to correct a problem without having to be familiar with 10 different devices and operating systems. If people begin to access cable on multiple devices through multiple means it’s quite possible that figuring out a problem is going to be a major headache for all involved. Is something malfunctioning with your modem, is it an app, does the app need to be updated, which Fire TV box are you using the first gen or the second one, does your Roku have a 2 or a 3 on top of it, are you connected with HDMI or the red yellow and white cords, what firmware do you have? The questions can go on forever. And many people are completely unable to answer them because they don’t understand what they have. Anyone who has been drafted by a parent or grandparent understands what I mean here. Right now it can be as easy as the realization that equipment needs to be replaced, an appointment is made and a trained tech comes to a home and installs the equipment correctly and it’s over. In the brave new world of third-party access who knows how a problem gets resolved.

 

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Info From Press Release

Amazon’s Streaming Partner Program is now active. The program will be the first to offer Starz Streaming as the company attempts to gain a place in the streaming world after famously pulling programming from Netflix 2 years ago. Amazon hopes to entice content providers to work with the service by offering them the ability to integrate their content into Amazon’s ASAP service and offer X-Ray, the IMDB based service that integrates cast and feature information on screen for participating services. Until now X-Ray was exclusive to Amazon’s video offerings. The move appears to be directed at companies who wish to expand their streaming presense and save time setting up billing infrastructure. This is a growing trend in the streaming world as services seek a cable like third-party relationship as they reach out to new customers.

What do users get from the Streaming Partners Program?

  • Free trials on all subscriptions
  • Special Prime member pricing
  • Latest episodes available simultaneous with broadcast
  • Convenience of one account
  • One Watchlist across all subscriptions
  • Self-service cancellation of any subscription at anytime
  • IMDb X-Ray integration
  • Unified search and browse across subscriptions
  • Unified voice search and ASAP on Fire TV

What Services Are Offered

SHOWTIME, STARZ, A+E Network (Lifetime Movie Club), AMC (Shudder and SundanceNow Doc Club), Gaia, RLJ Entertainment (Acorn TV, Urban Movie Channel, Acacia TV), DramaFever (DramaFever Instant), Tribeca Short List, Cinedigm (Dove Channel, Docurama, CONtv), Smithsonian (Smithsonian Earth), IndieFlix (IndieFlix Shorts), Curiosity Stream, Qello, FlixFling (Cinefest, Nature Vision, Warriors and Gangsters, Dox, Monsters and Nightmares), BroadbandTV (Hooplakidz Plus), DEFY Media (ScreenJunkies Plus), Gravitas (Film Forum, Daring Docs, Fear Factory), and Ring TV Boxing.

To explore the full set of premium content available to Prime members, visit www.amazon.com/videosubscriptions.

 

 

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Amazon instant video is one of the most popular video streaming services in the country. At last check it was second behind Netflix. Now how many people have the instant video service simply because they signed up for Prime for shipping and books, the company does not say. But regardless a consistent criticism of Apple TV has been that it does not have an Amazon Instant Video app. The thing is though that anybody with an iPhone 4s, iPad 4 or a number of iPhones can easily watch Amazon prime content on their Apple TV. This is because Apple TV supports AirPlay. With AirPlay users can launch virtually any app and watch it on TV. This is what the Chromecast was trying to copy in the first place. See the video for instructions on this method and learn how to watch Amazon Instant Video on Apple TV.

Games and Movies will be at the forefront

Amazon is giving away a number of Free Amazon apps, paid apps for free starting on Christmas Day. The giveaway includes titles from Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds, Sega of America Half Brick studios and others.  On Monday Amazon started also offering reduced in-game purchases for a number of titles that require cash for added options like weapons upgrades etc. There are also deals on streaming purchases. The company is selling holiday based titles for 50% off. Shorts like how the Grinch stole Christmas and full motion pictures like The Polar Express. This is all obviously a major push for their devices.

Amazon has been the most aggressive company by far this holiday season with aggressive advertising during football games in print and on the Internet. We think it’s no coincidence that the company added HBO Go a week ago because it put more focus on Amazon while people were out shopping for new streaming products.

Why the Games? It’s all about the controller
There was a great deal of buzz when Amazon Launched the Fire TV it lunch with a number of video game titles available. The hope behind putting games on a streaming device is that people will begin to think of something like the Amazon Fire TV or the Nexus player as an inexpensive family game option. No streaming box can compete with the types of games one would find on a PlayStation 3 and 4 or Xbox or even a Nintendo Wii-U. But the graphics and performance from these games is equal to older generation consoles (Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis) and offers inexpensive options for people just looking to have a good time without making a major investment. There is also the retro appeal for those who grew up playing with Nintendo and the Sega Genesis. Amazon must be hoping that by putting so many game titles out there especially higher-end games that people will choose to download the games and then buy the Amazon controller which did not ship with the product. If it gives away 50 games but millions of people buy a $40 controller that is going to be a major windfall for Amazon after the Christmas. And there are not many retailers that break the bank after Christmas.

When does the game sale start?
Amazon will be in selling the game bundles on December 24 through December 26.

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Jumping into streaming is fun but can be confusing for new customers. To make matters more confounding the streaming landscape keeps growing. What started with Roku and a box that brought a small Netflix catalog to the television has grown into its own full sector of the technology world. Today we will be highlighting a number of the available products awards ceremony style. Anybody with school aged children has sat through an awards ceremony where everyone gets a trophy. So as not to hurt the self-esteem of any of the products featured in this story each will be given a trophy based on its strengths.

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The leader of the streaming video world by far is Netflix. With over 40 million subscribers worldwide and plans to expand its European reach the home of House of Cards seems like a fast rising star. The company recently said that it plans to step up the quality of its movie choices at the cost of some of its depth. The extra fees that the company is charging new users and Euro Zone users are going to help pay for the new media. But Amazon may be on the jolly red giant’s heels. The service is beginning to develop a compelling case.

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        Ryan Michael DowneyAmazon Black

Apple LogoThe Apple TV and Fire TV are two very similar devices. Both are set top boxes that retail at $99.00, both showcase their own proprietary media services both offer a strong collection of third party services, both allow mirroring in limited circumstances. Unlike our comparison between the Roku 3 and The Fire tv which can be seen here.Most important to note is both companies compete against each other in other sectors including tablets, ebook sales and MP3 sales. With unconfirmed rumors of an Amazon phone in the works the release of the Fire TV seems as much about opening another front in a war against the maker of the iPhone and iPad as much as it is a chance to showcase its product.

While there are a lot of people calling the Fire TV a “Roku Killer” it appears that Amazon has the the the Cupertino company, which controls 48 percent of the set top market in its sites much more than Roku. Today we take a look at how the two set top box offerings match up head to head.