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Popcorn, anyone?
james_nicoll
Amazon targets Disney.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

I like mine with real butter, please.

Bring out the big bowl - lots of people are going to want to watch. I do feel sorry for those who wanted to watch something else, and now will find that more difficult.

It seems I can't view the story without a paid subscription...

Same here. And I don't care enough to pay up.

And I'm left thinking - based on what little I know at the moment - that Bezos' people have got to be ill-advised, to be picking this particular fight.

Not necessarily.

If they (correctly!) believe that a)the first-mover effect strongly favours their distribution channels, in that people have a "go to Amazon" reflex, that b)Disney's executives aren't really able to understand the technological landscape, and that c)Disney can't take the pain until implementing whatever inferior Amazon alternative they might decide to try -- since, after all, the whole point of Amazon is that you don't have to go anywhere else and people like that a lot, the barrier to being the second universal consumer portal is really much higher than being the first one -- Amazon could win this one.

On the other hand, Amazon's P/E is over eight hundred (Market Cap 146 GUSD) while Disney's is 20. (Market cap 149 GUSD), which is not the sort of thing that implies Amazon is being sensible here.

And at this point, the executive who ensures that Disney has retained a close relationship with Apple and premier placement on the iTunes store steps forward from the shadows. He laughs.

Why? iTunes is only useful if you want to watch on a PC, laptop or iDevice, or if you have an AppleTV. For people with Rokus, Playstations, XBoxes, Android tablets, etc., the top choices are Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. And for anyone who wants physical media, Amazon is the primary alternative to dealing with the hell that is Best Buy and WalMart.

Amazon's non-book digital media is actually kind of sucky as a service, they just haven't got it working as well as itunes or google play. They initially tried to by like Apple with vertical control of the platform, but had the problem that they're not Apple. If you're buying digital, you're probably buying on itunes or on google play. Amazon are trying to wedge themselves in there, but they're the latecomers into trying to set up a digital content ecosphere, and it's telling that they're not pulling pre-release purchases on the digital platforms.

I don't know anyone who buys video on iTunes except as a last resort, and that's including Apple fanboys. It's too inconvenient if you want to watch it on an actual TV.

The Apple TV has the biggest installed customer base of any internet streaming STB, partially because they got to market early. Sales of rival devices caught up, and exceeded them this year, but Apple still have the biggest number of people with their device attached to the TV (excluding cable companies of course).

20 million Apple TVs.

76 million XBoxes. Over 80 million PS3s.

Sure, the XBox and Playstations do other things too. But when it comes to watching Netflix, or streaming from local media, having a console under the TV is more likely.

Except that there's also the tie in to the mobile viewing platform, and that's a pretty huge deal... Amazon seriously screwed up there, because they actually refused to make an Android version of their video service, because they wanted to sell more Kindle Fires. They reluctantly made an iPad version, then dragged their feet on an iPhone version, and only now have they announced they're going to put out an Android version some time soon. If you own an Android device, you're buying from the store that lets you watch on the Android device. If you own an iPhone, you're probably still buying from iTunes, because the iOS app for Amazon digital video is pretty bad.

So as far as Disney are concerned, Amazon are not the future of digital distribution. And the past of disc distribution is still rather healthy with Walmart and Target. Amazon are picking the wrong fight here.

Oh yes. This is why I refuse to own a Kindle - I don't want a device that's tied to one store.

Is *that* why my Prime movie membership works flawlessly on the iPad but not at all (and believe me, I've tried) on the Android tablet?

Agreed: I picked up an Apple TV because of a couple of exclusive items on iTunes and figured if it was here I'd use it for more than that, but I haven't. Device usage here is Roku, (distant tie for 2nd) Oppo Blu-Ray player's streaming services and cable on demand, then Apple TV as an even more distant third place. The Apple TV did let me consolidate the Airport Extreme for iTunes streaming from the music server, but that's it.

I'm techier than Apple's target audience (I suspect). I used to use the Tivo for Amazon and Netflix, and son's Xbox 360 for stuff on Netflix that had to be bought. I had this way clunky app for streaming from the PC.

Now I use the Roku for Amazon and Netflix, and it's *trivial*. The new YouTube app that lets me find a video on YouTube, then start it running on the Roku, is amazingly convenient. I still have a (different) way clunky app for streaming from the Linux box; oh, well.

I'm an early adaptor of an Apple TV and still use it for our only "tv" viewing as we have no cable, etc. Hulu, Netflix, iTunes if we MUST, but usually streaming YouTube from the Apple TV menu or something (ahem) mirrored up from my phone or iPad to the TV screen instead of buying via iTunes if we possibly can. It's been working brilliantly.

FWIW my household has bought considerable amounts of video from iTunes. But we do actually have an Apple TV--multiple in the house, in fact. But we also have an Xbox console and have been known to break that out for Amazon Prime streaming purposes.

'Cause yeah, we're techies and we pursue multiple options if necessary.

It's true - I have a Roku and at this point one of my main reasons for keeping Prime is watching TV/movies.

You see at least part of my point here, then.

If it's a fight between money, Disney will win, yeah.

On the other hand, the thing Amazon does really well -- computing as a distributed service -- they paid in time and ruthlessness to acquire, no one else has it, in part because the thing Bezos brings to the table is an apparent complete freedom from caring who hates him, never mind wanting minions who like him, and this mattered exceedingly in creating that service infrastructure, and it's possible there's a sane bet that no one else can do it in five years and no one can survive without their Amazon sales for that long.

(Since it's possible the sales aren't substitutable, that there aren't enough brick-and-mortar stores any more to serve as an equivalent alternate channel, and the expectation of a single place to shop for everything durable is very sticky among consumers.)

I think that sets the value of the infrastructure too high, but I'm also entirely not the sort of person this is an argument about, so my expectations are pretty much worthless. I suspect that what really matters is the view of the folks who keep investing in Amazon despite terrible profit numbers in the hopes that, in the end, Amazon's going to have a durable monopoly that's broad enough for long term rent extraction. ("what if books and music and just _stuff_ were a business like the phone company?") If those people think Disney's going to win, Bezos has a problem.

If those investors figure it's going to end with mutual annihilation?

Don't see how it can.

Disney loses their entire movie business, ow, pain, but you still have something viable there, notably a massive IP catalogue and a cultural norm. (Plus no one structures the movie expenses in the expectation of profit, plus theatre seats are paying for the headline stuff, they'd be looking at giving up a lot of profit for a few years to make Amazon go away, not destruction, of the movie business.)

Amazon doesn't really have anything except that investor perception that there will be lots of monopoly rents in the fullness of time; considered strictly as a business, it's not viable now, despite some valuable IP and good infrastructure. Bezos may be reacting in fear that people are figuring that out, that this is his best bargaining position and he needs to use it to start showing actual profit. (Alternatively, that the conditions in the plan to start extracting profit by squeezing suppliers have been reached, and here we go.)

Bezos is basically "let them hate as long as they fear". (Plus some deep pocket investors and excellent legal cover somewhere in the USG.)

Disney is "I want my daughters to have a particular view of femininity so I'm going to convince the entire world to use that model of femininity so there aren't any bad examples lurking out there to trap my kids into bad ideas, while incidentally making massive profit by continuing to own the general public perception of good, right, and proper".

I wouldn't back Amazon or Bezos in a ruthlessness contest against Disney. I wouldn't back the CIA in a ruthlessness contest against Disney. It's just a question of whether or not it gets to a ruthlessness contest, or if it gets decided over short-term issues of sales channel and disappointed Disney shareholders.

Nice - and I suspect accurate - bit of snark there about the definition of femininity and who gets to provide it. Going all the way back to Walt himself, that profit model explanation?

(Looks at Wikipedia and sees a certain amount of additional evidence for it.)

That's not so much Walt as the recent (and I think just ex) CEO who was responsible for the princess resurgence. There's an interview where he says that, it's really not snark at all though I don't swear no snark leaked into my paraphrase.

(Walt's model was to own fairy tales. It worked, but it's got limits in the modern age.)

Reports from Amazon distribution warehouses show massive Rodent Infestation chewing through stock..

In related news, Amazon staff seeking copies of How to Build a Better Mousetrap discovered to their chagrin that since that was a Hachette title, they had to go to Barnes and Noble.

or the ACME edition by Wily E. Coyote...

solarbird and I were noticing this going around, yeah!

Amazon fighting with Hachette is one thing. Fighting with the MOUSE? PARTICULARLY now that the Mouse owns Marvel?

Yeah. Pass me some of that popcorn!

The Mouse owns Marvel, Lucasfilm and Henson. And I suspect I'm missing a few asset acquisitions.

Indeed. So right now nobody can pre-order Muppets Most Wanted, Maleficent, OR Captain America: The Winter Soldier!


Only if the sales that would have happened via Amazon are recovered via other channels. They might not be.

I suspect that Disney can manage a certain amount of workaround-building.

I'd think so, too, but timing for these things is tricky.

All the sales won't be. That's not possible. Any amount of friction entails dropout: that's why successful estores keep your credit card on file and set up one-click buying.

But if enough of the sales are that Amazon loses out by some function more than Disney do -- where the function is dependent less upon the actual money than upon how much the respective parties are willing to lose out on, how much they think the other is willing to lose out on, how much they each think they'll each lose out on if one or the other gives in now or later....

Essentially it's a high-stakes poker game.

I was telling this to a friend just a bit ago, and I compared it to Napoleon and Hitler both opening up the Eastern Front.

Um, has anyone yet explained just why Amazon is doing this to Disney?

Because Bezos believes in Manifest Destiny. Not "the" Manifest Destiny, but that Amazon has a Manifest Destiny to become the monopoly provider of pre-written and pre-recorded information content for everyone everywhere.

Not that you're wrong, but--

You might as well say "because God is on Amazon's side." My question is tactical, not strategic.

We know why Hachette and Amazon are fighting at this particular time.

Why did Amazon choose this particular moment to suppress advance sales of Disney products?

We need journalists. Journalists who can weasel the information out of those who know. Journalists who can exploit leaky sources, deep within the organizations, and follow up the leaks with legwork.

Times like these, I miss my brother. Few things made him happier than getting dirt on Disney.

Amazon has earned a reputation as a tough negotiator, but given that it could be facing an $800 million loss this quarter, it has reason to really dig in when setting distribution terms. from http://www.thewrap.com/amazon-blocks-dvd-blu-ray-pre-sales-of-disneys-maleficent-captain-america-winter-soldier/

Nobody's saying what Disney and Amazon are arguing about, but (if The Wrap is correct) that looks like Amazon's plans to conquer the world are in the midst of failing. (I would bet said plans did not include the Great Recession and that predating the global disposable income really requires that there is sufficent disposable income out there.)

I'm reminded of a line from Harlan Ellison's essay about his very brief time working at the Magic Kingdom:

"No one fucks with the mouse."

I think Amazon's going to find that out, too.