Oh this space just gets stranger and more intense by the day! In today’s news, Amazon launched its instant videos and unlimited streaming for Prime subscribers of more than 5,000 movies and TV shows. Many have noticed that indeed, Amazon is entering the online on demand market much as Netflix did – by buying up the rights to lesser known titles and trying to get their catalogue to a point where customers may find it interesting. A while ago, I wrote a blog on the noise in the marketplace – and now Amazon has brought some big ‘ol cymbals to the raucous.
However, the leading story is not about the noise or the new competition in the marketplace. Nor is it about Ultraviolet and its now even steeper hill to climb to launch a meaningful service (whose silence is deafening, and to tell you the truth, boring to talk about). The lead story here was uncovered by Andrew Wallenstein at paidContent.org who looked through Netflix’s 10-K and found that Netflix relies on Amazon Web Services for the “majority of [its] computing.”
As the filing states, “Given this, along with the fact that we cannot easily switch our AWS operations to another cloud provider, any disruption of or interference with our use of AWS would impact our operations and our business would be adversely impacted.”
Hmmm. If I were in Netflix’s shoes, I’d be pretty bummed out that Amazon entered the video market and controls the majority of my growing computing needs. I’d muse “And these computing needs are driven largely by the MY Instant Viewing service that Amazon now is offering – wait a minute – MY customers.” This comes at a time when Netflix is under increasing price pressure from the studios who are hell bent on and looking forward to, for the lack of a better word, annihilating Netflix. Lucky for the studios, eh? They suddenly have a service they can turn to and use as leverage against Netflix.
So this poses a big problem for Netflix. Not only will content costs skyrocket as the studios look forward to making them squirm, but costs for computing may increase substantially as it faces a grim prospect of moving its computing elsewhere. Either that, or it increasingly relies on AWS at its own peril.
Incidentally, Netflix is off 4.5% as the time I published this to (holy horse sh*t) $225ish. I remember when they were $40. Boy do I feel like a toad.