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Lots of people will be writing smart things about Amazon’s strategy with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film studio that Amazon announced Purchase for $ 8.45 billion. But I want to ask a more basic question: why?

Not why Amazon is buying MGM, which owns the rights to James Bond and “RoboCop”. Presumably Amazon will use it to my ideas for fresh series and films for its Prime Video Streaming Entertainment Service. No, I ask, why does Amazon even have a streaming video service?

Is video a valued Prime member perk or a billion dollar vanity project for Amazon?

On the rare occasions that Amazon executives have discussed their goals for Prime Video, they have focused on the power of loyalty. They say that including a video service in Prime is another reason for this People who adhere to Amazon’s membership program and feel like they’re getting great value for money by shipping packages at no extra cost. “Bosch“When asked. My colleague reported that households with Prime memberships Typically spend $ 3,000 a year on AmazonMore than twice as much as non-membership households spend, according to Morgan Stanley.

According to Amazon, people who use Prime Video are more likely to renew their membership or pay each year when they participate in free trial programs Buy more products on Amazon. But in his new book on AmazonJournalist and author Brad Stone suggests that this may not be entirely true.

He writes that some Amazon employees who worked in the entertainment department analyzed how many Prime members were watching shows and then renewed their Prime membership or signed up. “There was little evidence of a relationship between viewing and buying behavior,” writes Stone. “The truth was: Bezos wanted Amazon makes TV shows and movies. “

The divergence between the stated goals of Prime Video and the perhaps more pedestrian-oriented reality shows a dichotomy between Amazon and other technological superpowers. They are so rich and successful in some areas that they can afford to beat in others.

Amazon’s success in online shopping and cloud computing – and most importantly, its fans and critics’ belief that the company is a powerful and disruptive genius – has had an impact on Amazon questionable strategies in food and in streaming. And it has reduced the urgency to fix a clunky online shopping experience we can’t always trust and that feels like it hasn’t been updated since the 1990s.

The extremely profitable advertising businesses of Facebook and Google support their inability to figure out what to do with them. Well, almost everything else these companies are involved in, including Facebook fumbling Turn WhatsApp into a business and Google’s years Problems with online shopping. I don’t know whether to find it comforting or frightening that these companies are crazy smart and sometimes stumble in the dark at the same time.

On Prime Video, we don’t hear Amazon executives justifying the cost or showing their worth to Prime members. The lure of fast and free shipping might be enough. Or would Prime members be more loyal if the company offered a variety of perks – such as free internet service, online fitness classes, access to personal buyers, or more Kindle books? Walmart’s version of Prime offers discounts at some gas stations.

I don’t know if any of these alternatives are convincing, but I also don’t know that video is a tempting add-on to Prime. Only Amazon really knows and it says nothing.

Chances are Amazon is playing a very long game with Prime Video. I can imagine a future where Amazon will use ads on Prime Video and its other online video sites to get us interested in new products and then sell them to us as well. Amazon would span the life of shopping from “huh, this looks interesting” to clicking “buy”. (Stone suggested this possibility in a current newsletter.)

Or maybe I’m falling into the trap of assuming there has to be one great design behind what Amazon and other superstar companies are doing. Maybe it’s just cool to make films.



  • There are a number of internet innuendos in India this year. On Wednesday, WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, sued the Indian government about new internet rules that require “traceable” messages that WhatsApp says violate the Indian Constitution. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party also hit Twitter for adding a warning sign Party leaders tweets containing forged documents intends to smear opposition politicians.

    Connected: Russia is putting pressure Google, Twitter and Facebook to crush posts the government deems illegal or to restore Kremlin-friendly material, Adam Satariano and Oleg Matsnev reported. As in India, Poland and Turkey, Russia’s campaign is an example of how governments are testing how far they can go to control online language.

  • The eagerness of cybersecurity companies to promote their services alarmed criminals. A ProPublica detection found that cybersecurity companies may inadvertently contribute to ransomware attacks by posting bugs in criminal gangs’ software, including the one that recently hit the east coast’s largest fuel pipeline.

  • Artificial intelligence software is no smarter than humans but … Machines beat archaeologists In the arduous task of categorizing ceramic fragments, my colleague Heather Murphy wrote.

Otter in a hot tub. (OK, it’s actually more like a cold pool, but this webcast with otters is in Twitch’s “Hot Tub” category.) Read More of polygon about this Vancouver Marine Mammal Rescue Center and its livestream on Twitch.


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