Amazon recently announced they are opening a grocery store with no checkout required. Calling it the ‘Just Walk Out Shopping’ experience, all you do is scan your Amazon Go app when you walk in, pull the products you want off the shelf (it even knows when you put them back) and walk out the store. Your Amazon account will be charged and the receipt will be sent to you.
After years of asking, Netflix is finally allowing their subscribers to download select movies and TV shows from their service. You can now watch most of their Originals, such as The Crown, Narcos, Orange is the New Black and House of Cards on an airplane or train without worrying about the wifi connection. (The new season of Gilmore Girls, Gillian Anderson’s The Fall, Luke Cage and a few others are not currently offering this feature.)
Back in July, on their Q2 earnings call, Amazon said they would double its video content spend during the 2nd half of 2016 compared to the same period last year. CFO Brian Olsavsky told investors Amazon would “nearly triple our offering to customers of new Amazon original TV shows and movies” compared to last year.
One of those investments (according to Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, they spent $250MM for three seasons) was their new show, The Grand Tour, a reincarnation of the hit TV series “Top Gear” which just premiered globally on Amazon Prime. According to a company press release, the first episode has become the biggest show premiere ever on Amazon Prime Video, beating The Man in the High Castle. Total new Prime membership sign-ups exceeded all previous days with the exception of Amazon’s renowned Prime Day.
Turner made a splash this month in the already crowded SVOD field with their launch of FilmStruck; a collaboration between Turner Classic Movies and The Criterion Collection.
Cinedigm’s family-focused SVOD service, The Dove Channel, will now offer a live stream called Dove NOW – a 24/7 programmed channel featuring a mix from their vast library of nearly 500 films and 900 TV episodes. Launched in September 2015, as a partnership between Cinedigm and The Dove Foundation, the $4.99 a month, Netflix-style on demand channel offers inspiring and uplifting content from John Wayne Westerns to The Little Rascals to Michael Landon’s Highway to Heaven. The Dove NOW live stream will feature these titles, among others, along with kids programming blocks scheduled in the morning and early afternoon, and blocks containing more adult fare from fringe to primetime.
On November 9th, Viacom held their Q3 2016 (technically their Q4, full year) earnings call. Here are the highlights
Change in Leadership:
Tom Dooley, the current CEO, will step down next week. Robert Bakish, who managed Viacom’s international business, will take over.
Financials – Total:
Full year total revenue of $12.5B was 6% lower than the $13.3B in FY 2015. Total revenue for the quarter was $3.2B down 15% YoY.
Research firm Parks Associates updated their list of top 10 OTT video services. They are ranked by number of paid subscribers, excluding transactional or ad-based services.
(Since not all subscriber numbers were provided in the press release I took a stab at some of them.)
Netflix kept the top spot with 46MM US subscribers. Amazon doesn’t release numbers so their subscription tally is a bit tricky to determine. It’s estimated that there are 56MM US customers paying for Prime, which technically puts them ahead of Netflix. However, not every one of these paying customers are doing so for the video service, since most are there for the Free 2 Day shipping – the main reason for signing up. According to a new CutCableToday survey, nearly 20% of all Prime subs don’t use the video service. So with that complicated triangulation it’s estimated that there are roughly 45MM Amazon Prime Video subscribers.