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Amazon gets creative with focus on original video content

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
A set of job postings by Amazon for creative executives to oversee the production of original video series reflects the online retailer's interest in challenging the industry film and television studios with exclusive video content.

GigaOm uncovered on Friday Amazon's listings seeking executives to work for the People's Production Company, a subsidiary of the Amazon.com group of companies. According to the posts, the two positions would oversee development of half-hour comedies or children's shows for "online and traditional distribution."

Projects for the executives would come from Amazon Studios and the positions would report directly to the VP, Series Development. They would also be expected to evaluate pilot proposals; develop series ideas with writers and artists; staff, cast and produce pilots in a "cost-efficient way" and supervise production when series are greenlit.

Amazon created its Amazon Studios initiative in late 2010, offering prize money to budding script writers and filmmakers in exchange for original content. According to the report, the company paid out $580,000 to script writers and $2.1 million for test movies last year, though the content has yet to reach distribution.

The online retailer has shown a keen interest in producing original content beyond just TV and film. It has a publishing arm that is now headed by industry veteran Larry Kirshbaum. However, Amazon's imprints have been opposed by brick-and-mortar retailers, who have banded together to block the resulting books from their stores in their fight to survive the transition to online retail and ebooks.

With the introduction of Amazon's first multimedia tablet, the Kindle Fire, last November, the company is expected to continue investing heavily in original content. Analysts speculate that Amazon is selling its Kindle device at a loss with plans to make money off increased content sales.

The retailer is also rumored to be readying a standalone video service. Currently, it offers streaming video as part of its $79-per-year Amazon Prime service. Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it had reached a deal with Viacom to bring shows from networks like MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and TV Land to Prime Instant Video.

Meanwhile, rival Apple has also shown interest in a subscription video service, but it has held off on creating its own creative studios. The company reportedly shopped around ideas for an iTunes TV subscription to studios as early as 2009, but it was unable to convince them to commit to the proposal. Apple is now believed to be working to cement partnerships with existing cable and telecommunication companies to provide content for a rumored Apple-branded television set.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 25
Amazon needs to get it's house in order. Unlike bulwarks of Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, whose P/Es are between 10 and 20, Amazon sits at around 140.

That says to me that Amazon is in a single-company stock bubble, and is riding their value based upon a misaligned stock price. Common sense says Amazon should be trading at between 1/5 and 1/7 of their current price or they need to get their earnings up by 5x or 7x.

They can't compete with other media companies. Can Amazon build another sub company that doesn't make money, and stay in business?
post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post

Amazon needs to get it's house in order. Unlike bulwarks of Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, whose P/Es are between 10 and 20, Amazon sits at around 140.

That says to me that Amazon is in a single-company stock bubble, and is riding their value based upon a misaligned stock price. Common sense says Amazon should be trading at between 1/5 and 1/7 of their current price or they need to get their earnings up by 5x or 7x.

They can't compete with other media companies. Can Amazon build another sub company that doesn't make money, and stay in business?

They certainly don't have the profit to branch out any further for such a risk. At $177(?) million for the last quarter they were well below RiM whose profits had dropped 71%. Seems like an awful big risk when they have very little profit as it is.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

They certainly don't have the profit to branch out any further for such a risk. At $177(?) million for the last quarter they were well below RiM whose profits had dropped 71%. Seems like an awful big risk when they have very little profit as it is.

If I were AMZN I'd issue a lot of stocks right now, and use that money to invest. Now obviously the stock price would then tumble but at least you get real $$$ in exchange and the company will be able to survive long term. Right now? AMZN is a disaster waiting to happen (at least stock-price-wise)
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by drobforever View Post

If I were AMZN I'd issue a lot of stocks right now, and use that money to invest. Now obviously the stock price would then tumble but at least you get real $$$ in exchange and the company will be able to survive long term. Right now? AMZN is a disaster waiting to happen (at least stock-price-wise)


short it
post #6 of 25
Yeah ! We are cool too ! , you know ...
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

short it

I did last month - and made a nice bundle after the results were released.

Unfortunately, the cost of puts is very high right now - apparently lots of people think AMZN is due for a fall.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

According to the posts, the two positions would oversee development of half-hour comedies or children's shows for "online and traditional distribution."

Amazon is in a very unique position as they are able to assess the best selling content from their worldwide network of almost any kind of product. Maybe kid's shows and half-hour sitcoms or whatever are what sell the best.

It makes a lot of sense because it's probably the only product that has infinite resale with almost zero on-going manufacturing costs and low standards for approval (isn't that right, George Lucas).

Maybe they'll make a reality show about someone buying a copy of the reality show they are in from Amazon. That surely breaks a wall of some kind.
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A set of job postings by Amazon for creative executives to oversee the production of original video series reflects the online retailer's interest in challenging the industry film and television studios with exclusive video content.

GigaOm uncovered on Friday Amazon's listings seeking executives to work for the People's Production Company, a subsidiary of the Amazon.com group of companies. According to the posts, the two positions would oversee development of half-hour comedies or children's shows for "online and traditional distribution."

I just can't even imagine how bad a show created by Amazon will be. Absolutely no experience at all in creating original content and they expect to get into children's programming and comedies?

They're suffering from googleitis. No focus, simply the idea that they should get into every possible market out there.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post

Can Amazon build another sub company that doesn't make money, and stay in business?

Are you implying that Amazon is in danger of going out of business? What accounts for that viewpoint? Is Amazon Doomed?
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

Are you implying that Amazon is in danger of going out of business? What accounts for that viewpoint? Is Amazon Doomed?

There are a lot of steps before you get to "going out of business." The first one would be ending each quarter having spent more than the profit you've taken in. This would kill the stock value.

If they are losing money each quarter it would likely be awhile before they had no money to spend without borrowing it.

Lets look at the handset vendors that aren't doing so well right now. RiM made $265 million last quarter. That's substantially more than Amazon yet RiM's valuation is low and they little support by their old fan base. It's likely there expenses will be higher than their earnings soon. Now look at Nokia; they had their first quarterly loss this past quarter but they still have plenty of cash on hand. But if Nokia keeps losing money each quarter they will continue to remove chances to make a come back.

Usually a company is more profitable for having the amount of mindshare that Amazon has. Amazon is on a tightrope and its impressive but is it sustainable? I'm not so sure it is if they keep branching out into new areas where they choose to lose money.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

There are a lot of steps before you get to "going out of business." The first one would be ending each quarter having spent more than the profit you've taken in. This would kill the stock value.

If they are losing money each quarter it would likely be awhile before they had no money to spend without borrowing it.

Lets look at the handset vendors that aren't doing so well right now. RiM made $265 million last quarter. That's substantially more than Amazon yet RiM's valuation is low and they little support by their old fan base. It's likely there expenses will be higher than their earnings soon. Now look at Nokia; they had their first quarterly loss this past quarter but they still have plenty of cash on hand. But if Nokia keeps losing money each quarter they will continue to remove chances to make a come back.

Usually a company is more profitable for having the amount of mindshare that Amazon has. Amazon is on a tightrope and its impressive but is it sustainable? I'm not so sure it is if they keep branching out into new areas where they choose to lose money.

Note also that Amazon is projecting that they might lose money next quarter. While one quarter by itself doesn't prove much, it's a sign. Look at prices on Put options. For even as short a time as 5 months in the future, people are paying real money for an option that only has value if AMZN drops below 150. That's a VERY pessimistic sentiment.

Given that and their disappointing revenues results and poor projections, I'm actually surprised that it hasn't fallen further already. People are gullible.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Note also that Amazon is projecting that they might lose money next quarter. While one quarter by itself doesn't prove much, it's a sign. Look at prices on Put options. For even as short a time as 5 months in the future, people are paying real money for an option that only has value if AMZN drops below 150. That's a VERY pessimistic sentiment.

Given that and their disappointing revenues results and poor projections, I'm actually surprised that it hasn't fallen further already. People are gullible.

I didn't know they were predicting to be in the red this quarter.

For a company with as much mindshare as Amazon you'd think they be more successful. I think I'm on Amazon.com pretty much every day for some reason. They are a great place for online purchases. So why are they making so little money when Walmart, who also works on high volume to make a profit? Is there something seriously wrong with their business or with my perception?

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I didn't know they were predicting to be in the red this quarter.

For a company with as much mindshare as Amazon you'd think they be more successful. I think I'm on Amazon.com pretty much every day for some reason. They are a great place for online purchases. So why are they making so little money when Walmart, who also works on high volume to make a profit? Is there something seriously wrong with their business or with my perception?

They didn't say they WOULD be in the red, just that it was possible that they would - their range of projected income included a loss.
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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #15 of 25
LOL. What next? Amazon-branded hot dog stands?
post #16 of 25
. . .

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #17 of 25
It seems to me that canned, manufactured entertainment in serial form is a diminishing industry. The basic attention unit these days is five minutes, as everyone knows, and serial interest is limited to zombies and vampires.

Content is NOT king, as everybody says. (The mere fact that everybody says it is means that it is not.) What grabs attention now are zany riffs on reality and probes into bizarre reality. It would be safe to say that the content of new media is perception or discovery of the funhouse that is Earth.

Attempts to recreate broadcast television on the internets are dubious at best. But good luck to Amazon. That Jeff Bezos is one smart guy.
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Unfortunately, the cost of puts is very high right now - apparently lots of people think AMZN is due for a fall.

Actually, it's probably very fairly priced, which is why it's 'very high'!
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...production of original video series...challenging the industry film and television studios with exclusive video content.
[ View article on AppleInsider ]

Not to worry, production costs will be very low.

They intend to make a documentary miniseries chronicling the development of a mediocre, underpowered, poorly programmed, limited-function tablet pretender..

So, most of the work has already been done.
post #20 of 25
Amazon's strategy seems to be one of making money selling content and breaking even on the device to consume it (watch, listen, or read). Apple, on the other hand, sees content as a commodity and sells it as a break even while earning 40% on the hardware device. While some may view these tablets as a commodity, there is a distinct difference between them, whereas the content is identical so people will buy on price first. (and if the price becomes prohibitive, people will just steal or copy it)

I like Apple's model better.
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

Are you implying that Amazon is in danger of going out of business? What accounts for that viewpoint? Is Amazon Doomed?

They created their own version of Android.

Cheers
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I just can't even imagine how bad a show created by Amazon will be. Absolutely no experience at all in creating original content and they expect to get into children's programming and comedies?

They're suffering from googleitis. No focus, simply the idea that they should get into every possible market out there.

Googleitis it is, man.
New word! Much more descriptive ha ha. I can see their eyes rolling around all googly-eyed.
Google better watch out with a name like that and being so...googly.

Amazon made less money than Rimm? Do you think maybe they figure this is their last shot at survival? Wow it's worse than I thought!

I also don't see how they will make this media content 'at practically zero cost'. Showbiz is an expensive business, especially any kind of series development.
What is really factored into the price is a kind of perpetual sense of disbelief that any company could be as good as Apple is. ~Retrogusto
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What is really factored into the price is a kind of perpetual sense of disbelief that any company could be as good as Apple is. ~Retrogusto
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post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

LOL. What next? Amazon-branded hot dog stands?

Porn. Easiest way to creating lots of "original content".
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by boredumb View Post

Not to worry, production costs will be very low.

They intend to make a documentary miniseries chronicling the development of a mediocre, underpowered, poorly programmed, limited-function tablet pretender..

So, most of the work has already been done.

Porn, man... Now that production cost is low, low, low!
post #25 of 25
With Netflix, Hulu, Google, and now Amazon getting into content creation Apple is going to have little choice other than to get into the game or be left behind.

Besides, they do have $100 billion sitting around that they don't know what to do with.
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