Amazon is upping its stake in the streaming war. Though the company has built a respectable reputation as a theatrical distributor through its Amazon Studios and has garnered acclaim through its Emmy and Golden Globe-winning original TV series and Oscar-winning movies, it still trails the competition in many ways. Netflix currently has the streaming movies market cornered, but it appears that Amazon is taking larger steps to develop its own Amazon Prime original movies.
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To break into the increasingly crowded field of online streaming, Amazon Studios introduced a unique gimmick: Amazon TV pilots were posted online, and the public could vote for the one that would go to series. It was a fascinating experiment that went on for six years, long after Amazon Prime Video became one of the major streaming services, earning Emmy and Golden Globe nods for shows like Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Transparent.
But alas, that experiment will come to an end. Amazon Studios will be phasing out its Amazon pilot voting for the foreseeable future.
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Amazon wants you to sign up for a Prime membership. So much so that they’ve realized they can withhold certain in-demand items in order to draw hapless consumers in. As a result, Amazon has now made Star Wars and Marvel DVDs and Blu-rays Prime exclusives. In other words, without prime, it’s going to be harder to buy Marvel or Star Wars on Amazon.
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The access battle between the proletarian streaming platforms and exclusive film festivals has raged on since Netflix was booed at Cannes last year, but Amazon Studios has always managed to walk the line. The company would offer the films it acquired on its streaming service, to be sure, but it would also invest in theatrical releases — allowing its fantastic independent films like The Big Sick or The Handmaiden to garner critical acclaim and awards buzz. In the case of The Big Sick, this strategy helped launch the film into being a bonafide box office hit.
In the process, Amazon Studios has become one of the most dependable new media studios in the indie film circuit. But that could soon change. Amazon Studios will reportedly scale back its funding of indie films, shifting its programming strategy to favor commercial hits. And for anyone who has been a fan of the remarkable arthouse films that Amazon has supported in the past few years (Manchester By the Sea, The Salesman, Chi-Raq, The Lost City of Z, Love & Friendship, Last Flag Flying, and The Neon Demon), this is a huge bummer.
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Update: Amazon has informed The Verge that the labels were added erroneously and the HBO shows will not be leaving the streaming service. HBO’s streaming deal with Amazon has not expired. Our original story follows.
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There are all sorts of good news for cord cutters this week. First, Netflix made their entire library available to download for offline playback, and now Amazon Prime subscribers will now be able to access programming from HBO and Cinemax.
Find out more about HBO and Cinemax on Amazon Prime after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2016 by Angie Han
Amazon Prime has always been one of the weirder — and arguably better — deals in the crowded field of streaming video. While all services offer countless hours of shows and movies, as well as some splashy originals to distinguish themselves from the competition, only Amazon Prime comes bundled with free two-day shipping. Prime catalog fail to offer the movie you want? Never fear, just order the Blu-ray — and while you’re at it, why not toss some office supplies and workout gear into your cart as well?
But maybe, for whatever reason, you’re not interested in getting your stuff quickly. Or perhaps you’ve thought about signing up, only to balk at the yearlong commitment involved. In that case, Amazon’s got great news for you. The streaming service is rolling out a standalone Amazon Prime Video subscription, without Prime shipping. And at $8.99 per month, it costs a dollar less than Netflix’s most popular plan. Read More »
Netflix is undoubtedly the most successful and popular streaming service available today. Not only does it have a big library of movies and TV shows for people to binge on, but Netflix has moved into original programming in a big way, and much of the result has been pretty damn good. But the only problem with Netflix is their content must be streamed in order to enjoy it.
Today, Amazon Prime has taken a step to one-up Netflix by doing something the latter streaming service said they would never do. Amazon Prime Video offline playback will now be available to users so they can download their favorite show or movie before they hop on a plane or hit the road. Read More »
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Posted on Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 by Angie Han
Amazon’s Transparent got some much-deserved attention at this year’s Golden Globes, when the HFPA declared it the year’s best comedy and star Jeffrey Tambor comedy’s best actor. But unless you have an Amazon Prime subscription, or a generous friend who does, you probably haven’t had the opportunity to check it out.
Well, this weekend is the perfect time to change that. Amazon will let non-members stream the entire first season for free for just 24 hours. And if you like what you see, it’s also offering a discount on its usual Prime membership. More on how to watch Transparent free after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, October 9th, 2014 by Angie Han
Amazon first started releasing original series last year, but it wasn’t until this fall’s Transparent that they had a real smash hit. The dramedy debuted to great critical acclaim, and attracted enough viewers to “smash Prime Instant Video records.” And so, because Amazon is not stupid, it’s going back for more. The company has just re-upped Transparent for a second season to premiere in 2015.
Hit the jump for more details on the Transparent renewal. Read More »