Amazon has flipped the switch on its LoveFilm brand, officially renaming the service in the UK to Amazon Instant Video to match its US counterpart.
LoveFilm is the largest subscription service in the UK, rivaling Netflix, with more than 15,000 movies and TV episodes.
Amazon introduced its streaming box April 2, dubbed Fire TV, a direct competitor to Apple TV and Roku.
The box, which will retail for $99, will feature Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus and more, as well as voice controls and an optional gaming controller.
More coverage in this week’s Zimedium Podcast.
5 Tech Predictions for 2014
Welcome to the third-annual 5 Tech Predictions, where I analyze trends from the previous year (compiled on http://twitter.com/ericzimmett) and predict what will take shape within the next year. Centered around social media, streaming TV and technology.
5. Amazon Prime becomes No. 2 streaming service behind Netflix
Amazon, already a force in the UK with LoveFilm, will make some noise with Amazon Prime and look to challenge Netflix.
YouTube’s king for shortform video, Netflix for longform TV and Movies. But Amazon stakes claim at No. 2 in 2014 behind Netflix.
4. Original Programming Unloads
Netflix credits original programming for its big gain in 2013. Netflix, Amazon, and other players unload on original programming in 2014.
Original programming puts Netflix on a similar level as HBO. In fact, Netflix is becoming more and more like the HBO of the cable-cutting generation. We’re already seeing original programming from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube and more. Watch for it to continue in a big way in 2014.
3. Online Recommendation Engines
From Netflix to Foursquare, recommendations will reign in 2014.
Netflix has built its dashboard on recommendations; Foursquare is changing its focus to a recommendation search engine; Redbox is sending movie recommendations via email; and dozens of others will follow.
We’re submitting mounds of data online through clicks, purchases, and check-ins. All of that data finally pays off in 2014 by providing excellent recommendations. Watch for all of our online services to start recommending content, including advertising.
2. Mobile surpasses desktop
YouTube mobile use is currently at 40%, up from 25% the previous year. Social network use is already at more than 50 percent mobile. In 2014, the rest of the web will catch up.
Nearly 200 million Facebook users are mobile only, and mobile accounts for 30 percent of Facebook’s revenue. Apps like Instagram and Snapchat are built for mobile. From browsing to socializing, streaming and shopping, mobile is where it’s at in 2014 as it overtakes desktop usage.
1. HBO introduces standalone streaming service
Netflix has now surpassed HBO with the most subscribers, at 40 million, though HBO’s revenue is still above the streaming leader.
The peer pressure finally gets to HBO as it releases a standalone streaming service, likely late in 2014.
Though, like cable, it’s higher priced than most want to pay. In the $25 per month range. Showtime is another contender for standalone premium cable.
Both have cable-invested backers in Time Warner (HBO) and CBS (Showtime), which will delay a standalone subscription model, but watch for either one to roll out this option in 2014.
A LOOK BACK AT 2013.
Eric’s Ad Blog 5 Tech Predictions for 2013
5. Second Screen takes off
4. Facebook loses market share
3. Mobile Payments become mainstream
2. Free city-wide Internet
1. Big Netflix Competitor
Read the full 2013 predictions report here.
In ZimediaumPodcast 1 we discuss: New Facebook News Feed Coming March 7, Amazon Instant Video scores deal with Scripps Networks, Netflix House of Cards – Most-watched program on Netflix since launch, YouTube and Netflix eligible for Emmys, Yahoo changing work-from-home policy, Andrew Mason out at Groupon.
Introducing FIVE TECH PREDICTION FOR 2012.
5. Content producers skipping the middle man
Zimedium called it on May 8, 2011. In a post titled My predictions for Internet TV and the future of Cable.
“I’d watch for more studios and content owners to explore options for skipping the middle man and becoming the means of distribution for their content.” (See story May 8, 2011)
Louis CK did it seven months later — this December — for his special Live at the Beacon Theatre. Instead of distributing the video through Netflix or HBO, Louis CK put it exclusively on his website. All fans had to do was visit his site, pay the $5 price and download the special. So how’d it turn out? Well, in 12 days, Lois CK’s DRM-free video download made a cool $1 million. And it’s still going…
Louis CK’s special is only the beginning. In 2012, more will follow his model. Entertainers, content providers, even premium cable channels.
4. Customized Ads… Tailored to your purchases, browsing habits, check-ins and interests
Ads customized to your interests. Google does it best. Hulu’s already doing it with in-show ads and its Ad Swap feature. You can select what you like instead of watching what Hulu thinks you’ll like. Facebook does it. Facebook displays ads based on what fan pages you like. Foursquare does it too, by offering suggestions based on where you check in. Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley discussed the company’s Explore/Recommendation engine at LeWeb 2011 in early December 2011.
“We went through about two years of Foursquare where people thought that they were checking in for mayorships and points and badges. The check-ins weren’t just for the badges,” Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley said on stage at LeWeb 2011. Every time you tell us that you like to go to this sushi place, we get better about recommending you another place to go to. Every time you tell us that…you know a lot about this area of Paris or this are of New York, we know that you’re really familiar with that neighborhood. And we can suggest other things that you may not know about. Or we know when you’re in areas that you’re not so familiar about we can start offering things that help you out.”
Ads based on what you “like,” tweet, check-in, watch. Information you provide both voluntarily and data acquired based on your actions. Get ready to not hate the ads that interrupt your programming…at least not quite as much.
In 2012, Customized Advertising will be king. Whether you’re aware of it or not.
3. Video-game consoles becoming complete entertainment hubs
We called it an entire year ago, on Dec. 27, 2010. In a post titled When will PS3, Xbox, Wii incorporate Internet TV.
“…When will Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo enter the [streaming content] game themselves? Doing so would offer another bit of differentiation, another perk for owners of each console.
“Who will be the first to fully embrace streaming content or Internet apps?
“Because it’s going to happen, and whichever is the first to act will only begin the next trend in video games and possibly home entertainment as we know it.” (See story Dec. 27, 2010)
Xbox 360 introduced its revamped dashboard one year later, in early December of 2011. The new dashboard featured Internet apps including Netflix, Epix, SyFy, ESPN, Daily Motion, NBC News, Zune, YouTube and Live TV integration if you have the accompanying cable subscription.
In 2012, Xbox will roll out more apps and the rest will follow. It’s only the beginning. The future video-game console will be a complete media hub with dozens, possibly hundreds of channels and apps.
2. Entertainment on the Cloud
I hate the term “cloud storage.” Makes me think the cloud is only for backing up files. In 2012, the Cloud will become more than a backup service. Cloud for movies…music…pictures… and our movie libraries.
(I’m looking at my collection of DVDs and Blu-rays right now.) In 2012, our movie collection will extend to the cloud. Blu-rays already come with digital copies. How about a specially formatted “cloud copy”?
1. A BIG Netflix competitor
Through a few missteps in 2011, Netflix has enjoyed practically zero competition (or at least serious competition). Its maintained the largest number of video subscribers anywhere and built up its library of streaming content. Plus exclusive content on the way.
Zimedia predicts in 2012, one new company (or a service from a partnership of companies) will emerge as the biggest competitor Netflix has seen to date.
But it won’t be the death of Netlfix. In fact, few industries survive without competition. It’s good for business. It fosters growth, sometimes re-invention, and an improved user experience.