Amazon to increase video spend in 2019

Amazon’s chief financial officer, Brian Olsavsky, said he expects in Prime Video spend to “increase even further in 2019” but would not put a price on its programming budget.

Olsavsky made the comment on the company’s fourth quarter earnings call, responding to a question asking for an update on the company’s ambitions in the video space.

The CFO said that video and music builds “stronger Prime connectivity”, with members more likely to renew and engage with Amazon’s subscription offering, which includes other perks like free one-day delivery on physical goods.

He also pointed to Amazon’s 10 Golden Globe and three Oscars nominations as proof of the success of its Amazon Studios division.

In the AVOD space, Amazon subsidiary the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), launched an ad-supported streaming service called Freedive in January.

Amazon’s director of investor relations, Dave Fildes, said on the call that the company is excited about the service and “other opportunities we’ve been working with in ads,” citing Amazon’s Thursday Night Football streams in the US.

Fildes said Amazon is “looking forward to pursuing more opportunities to engage and serve with customers with those types of video offers, but also take some opportunity to monetise with the advertising.”

In terms of financials, Amazon’s fourth quarter revenue increased 20% year-on-year to US$72.4 billion. Operating income increased to US$3.8 billion in Q4 2018, compared to US$2.1 billion in Q4 2017.

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