Amazon Prime Offers Video Downloads on iOS and Android; Apple Gets into Original Content

     September 1, 2015


Though Amazon and Apple may be two of the biggest names in consumer electronics, they’re both chasing after the success of original content streamer Netflix. With the end goal of toppling Netflix’s dominance – or at least biting into a bigger piece of the pie – both Amazon and Apple have developed strategies that are novel departures from their business practices to date. Since Amazon has been developing their own original content for a while now, let’s take a look at the relative newcomer to that game: Apple.

Having dominated the field of mobile devices for years, Apple is now planning to open up its considerable pocketbook in order to develop new, original content. This news comes on the heels of the rumor that Apple TV plans to launch a subscription service next year, so it would make sense that their own exclusive programming would be part of that package. As BGR reports, Apple executive Eddy Cue and his team have had meetings with unnamed Hollywood executives in order to gauge interest for original content from the iCompany. While the progress on that front isn’t clear at the moment, what’s apparent is that Apple’s long-term vision includes competing with Netflix on the original content front.

netflix-tvNetflix certainly isn’t alone in that world – Hulu, Yahoo, the aforementioned Amazon, and Google’s YouTube have all joined the fray of producing original content for online streaming consumption – but they’re atop the award-winning heap. As recently as two years ago, Netflix was spending $2 billion annually on licensing movies and TV shows; Apple’s annual profits alone are $7 billion, more than enough spending cash to fish for big names both behind and in front of the camera. They might also be able to outspend Amazon in the realm of original content production, even as the online retailer plans to increase spending from its $1.3 billion 2014 budget.

Despite modest success with their own original programming, Amazon still trails Netflix in terms of viewers: 13.6 million to 60.4 million in the first quarter of 2015 alone. So what’s Amazon to do to differentiate themselves from Netflix, while making their service more enticing to viewers? As TechCrunch reports, they’ll now offer content available to download for offline streaming via iOS and Android devices. This might not sound like much since they’ve already made that allowance for Amazon Fire tablet users, but this is the first-of-its-kind offering for use on competitor devices. Obviously, users could also purchase and download content from Amazon’s Instant Video service in the past, meaning that the infrastructure for this transaction was already in place.

What’s important to keep in mind with this decision is that Netflix currently exists as a provider of temporary content, whether through online streaming or through its physical disc service. That’s a solid distinction. But don’t get too excited since the downloadable content doesn’t extend to Amazon’s entire catalog, but rather a relatively small subsection of it. Remember how the infrastructure was already in place for this type of transaction? That means it’s not a physical constraint, but rather a contractual one; Amazon will presumably continue to work out deals with content providers to bring more programming to more viewers.

transparent-posterHere’s a look at some of the content you can download now through Amazon Prime:

Amazon Originals like Bosch, Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, Wishenpoof!, Tumble Leaf and Creative Galaxy, as well as 24, Covert Affairs, Downton Abbey, Extant, Grimm, Hannibal, Justified, Mr. Selfridge, Orphan Black, Sons of Anarchy, Teen Wolf, The Americans, The Good Wife, Suits, Under the Dome, Veronica Mars, and Vikings, and HBO series like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, Girls, Veep, The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom, and True Blood.

If it’s movies you’re looking for, they’ve got:

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Captive, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Wolf of Wall Street, Life After Beth, Palo Alto, Starred Up, The Bling Ring, If I Stay, and The Spectacular Now.

As you can tell, the selection of content suggests that Amazon’s already made deals with CBS, Fox, MGM, Paramount, and HBO to name a few. The option to download should be available now on the Amazon Instant Video app on iOS and Android; users will have a limited time to view their content, approximately 30 days depending on the provider.

What are your thoughts on Apple’s plan for original content? What about Amazon’s move to make more content available offline? What’s your streaming/content provider of choice? Let us know in the comments!


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