Amazon talks up growth for digital media and physical books

Amazon talks up growth for digital media and physical books

Summary: Even with the launch of the Kindle Fire, Amazon affirms that it is still seeing solid numbers for physical book sales while video games is a mixed bag.

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TOPICS: Amazon, Banking
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If there was one thing that Amazon wanted investors to know about its performance during the fourth quarter of 2011, it would be that digital media across the board did well.

See also: Amazon: Big Kindle sales, but sales and outlook fall short Amazon's Q4: The Kindle Fire effect vs. more investment

That was included in nearly every answer that chief financial officer Tom Szkutak had for questions asked during the quarterly conference call on Tuesday about items ranging from video games to the Kindle Fire.

Szkutak affirmed that the digital media growth rate for everything from books to video to music was quite strong in North America.

But with the exception of reiterating from the earnings release that Kindle device sales surged (likely bringing up sales for content as well) and tripled over the holiday season, Amazon didn't offer any solid numbers to go upon.

One area that was a mixed bag was video games. Combining both titles and consoles, video games -- at least on a units basis -- were up, but Szkutak admitted that Q4 is seasonal for this. On a year-over-year basis, video games revenue declined.

Physical book sales are also still doing well with "double-digit" unit growth, as Szkutak pointed out that Amazon is pretty pleased with this "if you think about shift to digital content." (Interestingly, it will be curious to see how well physical book published by Amazon itself will do considering that Barnes & Noble isn't planning to stock them in its brick-and-mortar stores.)

Another media product provided by Amazon that both investors and consumers are keen to hear more about is the Prime streaming service.

Right now, Amazon Instant Video is tied into the $79 annual membership, but there are rumors that it could be split off into a standalone service to better compete with Netflix and Hulu Plus.

However, Szkutak didn't respond to this line of questioning, only replying with the diplomatic answers that it's still early and Amazon will be continuing to add content. Until then, there are still individual rentals.

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Topics: Amazon, Banking

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