Amazon moves into movie market

The e-commerce giant has announced plans to shoot and release movies for theaters.


Amazon has announced plans to take on movie moguls with homegrown content suitable for cinemas.

The company's declaration, made public Monday, includes plans for Amazon Studios -- known for television series such as Transparent and Tumble Leaf -- to produce and acquire original movies for theatergoers.

Amazon plans for this content to first be released in cinemas before early window distribution on Amazon Prime Instant Video, which may lure new customers to the subscription service and away from rivals such as Netflix.

"Whereas it typically takes 39 to 52 weeks for theatrical movies to premiere on subscription video services, Amazon Original Movies will premiere on Prime Instant Video in the US just 4 to 8 weeks after their theatrical debut," Amazon says.

The e-commerce giant also said that movies produced or acquired will focus on "unique" stories, voices and characters from up-and-coming content creators. Amazon Original Movies will be led by Ted Hope, co-founder of production company Good Machine, which developed films including Eat Drink Man Woman and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Amazon says the firm will produce up to twelve movies a year, with production starting later in 2015. This may seem like an ambitious figure, but it remains to be seen how many will be produced by Amazon itself, and how many the company acquires through other content creators.

Roy Price, vice president of Amazon Studios said:

"Not only will we bring Prime Instant Video customers exciting, unique, and exclusive films soon after a movie's theatrical run, but we hope this program will also benefit filmmakers, who too often struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience."

Amazon has evolved from the days of product searches and shopping, and explored the possibilities of mobile technology -- developing the popular Kindle range and disastrous Fire Phone -- as well as drone delivery and content creation. Amazon Prime Instant Video is a subscription service which can be used on mobile devices, consoles and a number of smart television sets.

As more consumers turn towards online streaming for their content and services such as Netflix gain in popularity, it makes sense for Amazon to try and separate itself from the crowd by offering original content. While Amazon is not the first company to do so -- as rivals such as Netflix already distribute original content -- the company's short premier timing promise may be a new way to lure subscribers to the fold.

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