Amazon is now a media company

  • N Madhavan, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Apr 14, 2014 15:47 IST

Amazon is a company I love watching because it never stops reinventing itself. And its latest leap is called Fire TV, a streaming media box.

And then comes news that by the year-end Amazon will have its own branded smartphones. Remember, Amazon already has its own Kindle e-book reader and Kindle Fire tablets.

Fire TV will compete with Google Chromecast, Roku and Apple TV. Priced at $99 (About R 6,000) It allows users to maintain their Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, Vevo, Bloomberg, Showtime and other accounts.

In simple language, it is a video machine. And Amazon is not a gadget company. It used to be an online bookstore that now provides advanced cloud computing services.

So why would Amazon make smartphones and TV streaming boxes? Simple: Amazon has relationships with movie producers and publishers, has its own self-publishing programme and as early as 2010, had launched Amazon Studios--a movie production venture that guides amateurs into making movies, just like self-publishing.

Put all the stuff above together and you will know that what Amazon is doing is freeing up creativity and is becoming a funnel through which anyone can virtually create any content and find a marketplace.

This is the next phase of an explosive media business. (Er, who knows what CEO Jeff Bezos might do with the Washington Post he owns?)

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