Amazon makes London its digital media development base

The company is to open up a new centre near the Barbican, bringing together the teams from Lovefilm and Pushbutton, the Amazon subsidiary that developed Lovefilm's apps for smart TVs, consoles and the iPad

Amazon is to establish a global digital media development centre in London, the company announced on Monday.

The centre, which Amazon says will open "in the coming months", will bring together the design and development teams of two of the firm's online video subsidiaries, Lovefilm and Pushbutton. It will "focus on the creation of interactive digital services for TVs, game consoles, smartphones and PCs, the development of the digital media experience on Amazon websites around the world, and the building of services and APIs that power that digital media experience," Amazon said.

London City
Amazon is to set up a digital media development centre in London.

Lovefilm is an online DVD rental and — more pertinently — on-demand streaming operation. Pushbutton develops user interfaces for watching media across a range of devices, and was already responsible for Lovefilm's PS3, LG and Sony smart TV apps by the time Amazon acquired it a year ago. It has since created apps for the Xbox 360 and iPad.

"London is a hotbed of tech talent and testament to that fact is Amazon choosing the capital as the location for the new global Digital Media Development Centre. Innovation is part of the Amazon DNA and we are creating a British centre of excellence to design and develop the next generation of TV and film services for a wide range of digital devices," Paula Byrne, the new centre's managing director, said in a statement.

London mayor Boris Johnson also chipped in to the statement, calling the centre "a feather in [London's] cap" that "propels us well up the league table of global tech cities".

Indeed, the new centre is no small affair, measuring 47,000 square feet across eight floors. An Amazon representative told ZDNet that "there will be hundreds of employees in this centre", but did not clarify how much it would cost, apart from saying it was "certainly millions of pounds".

Amazon has one other major UK development centre, in Edinburgh. Interactive user interface design is also a focus for that team, but so are non-media subjects such as machine learning and large-scale distributed systems.

Elsewhere in Europe, the company also has development centres in Iasi, Romania, and in Dublin, Ireland.

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