Amazon Movies & TV
Amazon officially announced its plans to move its central TV and video production facility to the Culver Studios Mansion in Culver City, California by the end of the year. The move had been rumored since the beginning of the summer. Amazon reportedly beat out Apple for the space, which was also rumored to be interested in the move.
The relocation is happening in sync with a lot of other changes in the same department. Amazon is seeking to expand its grasp in the video and TV industry, and the company is making a lot of hiring changes in a massive overhaul. Amazon sees the move as a sign of growth in the division.
What did Amazon Studios say about this?
“We are very excited about being a part of 100 years of movie and TV history at The Culver Studios,” said Albert Cheng, Head of Amazon Studios, in a statement. (Cheng has been serving as interim head of Amazon Studios, following Roy Price’s suspension.) “Most importantly, this new LA-based office will give us the much-needed space for our team to work and grow so we can keep bringing Prime Members the very best in series and movies,” Cheng added.
Amazon has been through a number of changes in the video department after executive and media division president Roy Price left the company in the midst of a sexual harassment investigation. Amazon is looking to press reset on its video and movies wing.
The move will allow Amazon to hire a large number of additional employees in the department. Amazon is gaining 280,000 square feet of space, which should result in a sizable expansion. The move next to Hollywood should also attract a number of people who want to work in the thick of the industry. The official figure on how many people Amazon is looking to hire has not been released.
Amazon previously had the video headquarters stationed in nearby Santa Monica, California. The company’s current workers there will move into the new Culver City office when operations begin in the location. The move is subtle but is nonetheless one step closer to Hollywood and its riches.
Amazon Movies & TV is in a struggle to remain competitive in the market alongside the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube.
According to recent studies done by TiVo, Amazon comes in second in streaming views with 27% of respondents polled saying they used Amazon more than any other streaming service in the first quarter of 2017. Netflix crushed the competition with 54% of respondents using its service.
Amazon vs Netflix
Amazon is anticipating spending approximately $4.5 billion on online video content in 2017. For comparison, Netflix is planning to spend $8 billion in 2018. While Amazon would love to get the leg up on yet another industry, this will be a tremendously difficult hill to climb for the sales giant.
Netflix also moved its headquarters to Hollywood earlier this year. Other companies have been trying to inch closer to the area as well, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Last year, Netflix signed a 10-year lease at Sunset Bronson Studios, one of three studio facilities owned by the L.A.-based Hudson Pacific Properties, the largest independent owner of stages in Hollywood.
The streaming giant also leases the adjacent office tower that recently opened and serves as its L.A. headquarters.
Competition for soundstages has heated up as streaming services and short-form video creators, such as Buzzfeed, have ramped up production on a year-round basis.
The fact that Amazon comes in second in video streaming may come as a surprise. Hulu and YouTube have been in the market for years with video streaming as a primary function of their services. Amazon started out as an online sales company and has since branched out into the realm of video streaming. Amazon has its eggs in many baskets, so one would think that Amazon wouldn’t be able to remain as effective at maintaining a foothold in the streaming universe as its competitors.
Amazon Prime is doing pretty well
However, there is a potential explanation for Amazon’s strength in the area. Many of Amazon’s customers are also Amazon Prime users. The Prime membership provides a lot of benefits, including faster shipping rates, access to prime music, prime pantry, prime reading, and dozens of other services.
Prime memberships offer a number of additional services that may funnel some of Amazon’s customers into its streaming services as well. Customers who already utilize those Amazon Prime features will find that the streaming comes at little to no additional cost. So why would watchers pay extra money for Netflix and Hulu memberships when they already have a Prime membership for its other uses? The variety and flexibility of its services is currently its draw in the market over its competitors.
If Amazon can also offer more options for video and movies, including more original content, it can make a serious dent in Netflix’s revenue.
The move to the Culver City studios, which is famous for being the shooting sight of legendary films such as “Gone With the Wind” and “Citizen Kane,” should make Amazon a serious threat in the original content department as well.
However, Netflix has recently cut ties with some of its most costly shows. House of Cards was recently cancelled amid scandal surrounding its lead actor, Kevin Spacey. That will free up their funding for more original stories. Amazon is hoping this move into the Culver City studios can help close the gap.
Amazon trying to reach Netflix users
Nonetheless, Amazon’s expansion in the video department should be a welcome sign for all streamers. Amazon can use the space to shoot more original content. It can also focus on gaining rights to more movies and TV shows to enhance the experience of its customers.
Amazon has a long way to go to catch Netflix in the video streaming market. But the move to Culver City and the plans to increase the workforce in the department shows that Amazon is willing to give it a shot. The end result is a better experience for customers and streamers everywhere.
This article was researched and written by Anders Jorstad. Anders is a content creator Amazon Sellers Lawyer. Anders will be earning his degree in journalism from Hofstra and has five years of professional journalism experience. He has written for numerous online and print publications including SB Nation and The Hofstra Chronicle.