Jeff Bezos wants Amazon to be the next HBO, Showtime

Claire Atkinson and Josh Kosman

New York Post

13th February 2017

It’s not TV: It’s Amazon Prime? Armed with a growing number of movies and TV shows, Amazon is weighing a charge into the premium TV and movie channel business, The Post has learned. The Jeff giant is in the early stages of discussions about developing a new paid channel carrying dramas and movies of its own, two sources familiar with those discussions said. The plan is to carve out a separate streaming home for shows that it helped to fund, the sources said.

The plan, which is not guaranteed to come to pass, is being driven by Amazon’s recent success at the Golden Globes and the huge number of Oscar nods for its movies, sources added. The $396 billion company, which recently made moves to become a global shipper, has its own Amazon Studios, run by Roy Price. It received six Academy Award nominations, including “ by the Sea” for Best Picture.

That nomination is a first for a streaming service. Amazon’s other contender is “The Salesman,” a contender. “Manchester” stars Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams.

It cost $10 million to acquire at the Sundance Film Festival. Last year, Price lured Woody Allen’s “Cafe Society” to Amazon with a collaborative deal. It landed on Amazon’s service soon after its theatrical debut.

Amazon has knowledge of premium channels. It began offering digital versions of HBO, Showtime and Starz as part of Amazon Channels. Separately, Epix is also an aggressive player.

By all accounts, Amazon is driving significant business for the premium players. Separately, Amazon has a choice of movies and TV shows to stream as part of its Amazon Watch Instant service. Among the top shows are “Man in the High Castle,” and Billy Bob Thorton’s “Goliath” and “The Night Manager,” starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie.

“In a few years, you’ll see an Amazon channel like HBO,” one Amazon employee told The Post. “We’re looking at being a global news and media company. There are key people working on it.

” To be sure, creating a highly profitable service like HBO doesn’t come easily. Time Warner said on an earnings call last week that its HBO unit saw revenue grow 5 percent, to $5. 89 billion, in 2016, with adjusted operating income up 2 percent, to $1.

9 billion. Time Warner also said that HBO subscribers had tripled since 2015 and were now 2. 4 million.

CBS’ Showtime and Liberty’s Starz are also adding millions of subscribers. For Amazon, however, the game is not simply about winning awards. The bigger prize is getting customers to spend more time at the site so they will click around and start shopping.

Bezos famously said the company was first to use a Golden Globe to get people to buy toilet paper. “When people join Prime, they buy more of everything we sell,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “They buy more shoes, they buy power tools and so on.

” How you pay for great content is an important part of making great content available,” he said. An Amazon spokesperson did not respond to two requests for comment..

 

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