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– by David Kozlowski

Here at LRM, we give equal coverage to both the business and the creative sides of Hollywood, since they’re so intertwined. Money drives Hollywood, but these days the flow of money is getting harder to follow, as technology is taking the industry in different and unexpected directions. Streaming services, for example, are clearly changing the landscape, and the pace is only accelerating. We’ve talked a lot recently about Disney’s upcoming power play in this arena, but they’re far from the only mover or shaker.

Take Netflix, who over the last few years has grown to over 100 million subscribers (at roughly $10 per month, that’s a cool $12 billion in annual revenue). The Silicon Valley company is producing original series and movies at an unprecedented rate, partly to sustain their membership but also to fend off competition from direct competitors like Hulu. Somewhat under the radar, Seattle’s Amazon Video — part of the Amazon Prime suite of deals and services — has been coming on strong, and the numbers might surprise you.

Related – The Trailer For Amazon Studio’s Gringo Is Here!

According to Variety, Amazon Prime signed-up more than 4 million new subscribers during a one-week period prior to Christmas. As of September 2017, Amazon Prime had about 90 million subscribers — a 38% increase from the year before — all paying $99 per year. So, Amazon is clearly keeping pace with Netflix in terms of subscribers and revenue. Netflix is generating a lot more content than Amazon, but when you factor all of the games, music, and other stuff you can get with Prime, it tells a much different story.

What does this all mean? If you’re one of the six major Hollywood studios, the outlook is grim. Hollywood is navigating a minefield of dwindling audiences and escalating movie budgets; meanwhile, the streaming services spend next to nothing on marketing while growing their subscribers by double-digits each year. That’s not to suggest Hollywood is doomed, but it’s obvious where the trend is headed — and why all but Disney are viable targets for acquisition.

Amazon is working on a bunch of new initiatives, including online multiplayer games, drone deliveries, new media devices, and more. Their goal is to make Amazon Prime (and by extension Amazon Video) so completely indispensable to their subscribers — if it isn’t already — that they’ll look upon Netflix, Hulu, CBS All-Access, Disney, etc. as secondary content platforms. In other words, Amazon’s long-game is intended to marginalize both the Hollywood studios and the other streaming services…you could argue that they’ve already done so.

After all, are you more likely to quit Amazon Prime or Netflix? Or if you already subscribe to Amazon Prime and Netflix — as many folks do — is there room in your budget for HBO GO, Hulu, etc.? It’s looking more and more like an Amazon/Netflix media world in the future.

How many streaming services do you subscribe to each month? Let us know in the comments down below!

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SOURCE: Variety

  • WTFITBS

    Amazon Prime Video is still severely lacking in content in comparison to Netflix. Their video library is very hit or miss with the majority (like 95% of it!!!) being B-rated low-budget or indie films that are really bad.

    • TheOct8pus

      There are some BAD movies on Amazon….like bottom of the bargain bin, shot in someone’s backyard bad…

      • Kindofabigdeal

        What a story TheOct8pus. So anyways, hows your sex life?

        • TheOct8pus

          It’s great ever since I got Amazon!

    • I agree, Amazon Video is lacking content compared to Netflix. Hulu also trails Netflix in original content, however both Hulu and Amazon are making up ground. Amazon Video will eventually have Lord of the Rings series too, which will be huge for them.

  • TheOct8pus

    It’s hard to compare Amazon to Netflix… ultimately, Netflix is a film/TV production company with a digital distribution interface… Amazon Prime offers free shipping on thousands of consumer products (sign up today!) and its film, TV and music properties are almost thrown in as an afterthought. I don’t know one person who has Amazon Prime because of their movies and TV shows

    • WTFITBS

      I got Netflix over a year ago because Amazon Prime’s video library was so weak.

      • Kindofabigdeal

        That’s funny, I got Amazon a few months ago because Netflix library was weak.

      • CelticBrewer

        I think they’re both kinda weak. Netflix is a little better when it comes to originals and 4k. But prime has music and free shipping and all that other jazz. So the article is spot on, if I had to cancel one (and I do subscribe to both plus sling), I’d get rid of netflix first.

        • WTFITBS

          I have all three as well, but if I had to get rid of one, SLING would be the obvious choice.

    • Streaming is evolving big-time, I agree it’s hard to compare them apples to apples. Each of the streaming services offer something different.

      Would you compare Hulu to Netflix? Many people use Hulu for Live TV, not just shows and movies. Amazon has a huge advantage with its shopping and services in addition to video. YouTube TV has YouTube Red original content and Live TV, so it obviously competes with Hulu, but would you compare YouTube TV to Netflix?

      • TheOct8pus

        Good question. I actually have never tried Youtube Red, but I do watch plenty of Youtube videos – it’s great for short content (3-10 minutes). I mostly watch movie reviews, horror shorts, and goofy comedy videos like Honest Trailers, or HISHE – my main criteria for Youtube is that if it’s too long, I’ll probably skip it… but I’m curious to see what Red has to offer.

        I just find it very hard to beat the production value of Netflix originals. Most of their shows and films are high quality big budget (regardless of how terrible the writing may be on some shows….cough Iron cough Fist) and the production value is undeniable. Youtube hasn’t gotten there yet, but I’m sure they will. The price of Netflix also makes it highly appealing compared to other services, including HBO – which is considered “top shelf” but doesn’t have the library Netflix does and costs more.

        Hulu is great for TV shows that are currently on TV, but once again, their original content isn’t up to par with Netflix, save for 1 or 2 shows.

        Amazon’s content is growing, and if you can ignore the thousands of low budget, super crappy movies, there are a handful of decent programs (Red Oaks, Sneaky Pete, Transparent, Jean Claude Van Johnson etc)

        Based on my own experience I’d say my top Streaming Services list goes like this:

        Netflix
        Youtube (free)
        Amazon
        HBO Now
        Hulu

        I haven’t tried any others

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.