National / International News

The economics of Woody Allen and Amazon

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-13 14:50

The Tuesday announcement was a showstopper: Woody Allen will produce his first television series. His distribution partner: Amazon Studios.

It came on the heels of a big weekend for Amazon, which won its first two Golden Globe awards for the series "Transparent."

Here's how the 79-year-old Allen characterized the deal in a written statement: "I have no ideas, and I'm not sure where to begin."

Nevertheless, in its latest move to challenge the streaming dominance of Netflix, Amazon has ordered a full season of whatever show Allen comes up with.

This rivalry could be good for Hollywood.

"The dynamics have changed rapidly in the last several years," says Steve Ennen, president of entertainment research firm Centris. "And that means the consumer has a greater ability to find ... quality content of their choosing through digital distribution. And it's starting to show in the numbers."

Here are a couple of those numbers:


That's how many new or returning original series Netflix will release this year.

$100 million

That's how much Amazon spent on original content in just one quarter of 2014.

"That's part of the mission of these types of companies. Investment in good original content has a lot of value for them," Ennen says.

Andrew Wallenstein, co-editor-in-chief at Variety, says the investment has been paying off.

"It was just three or four years ago where the notion of getting the kind of quality entertainment you get from broadcast or cable on the Internet was really almost laughable," Wallenstein says.

Still, the vast majority of content being watched on streaming services remains shows from traditional TV, even as those traditional channels see their audiences abandon them for streaming services. Wallenstein says those dynamics could mean networks may reconsider their willingness to sell older content to Netflix.

"They're making money from Netflix, good money, by licensing their shows. But if it hurts their own network ratings, you may see a dramatic pull-back at some point," Wallenstein says.

That's further incentive for streaming sites to make their own content. Netflix already has two critically praised shows: "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black." But it made less of an impact with the $90 million "Marco Polo" that debuted at the end of 2014 with much fanfare but few positive reviews.

Meanwhile, Amazon has been getting critics' attention with "Transparent."

"Amazon is starting to come up with content that rivals Netflix," says Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, who keeps close watch on the streaming world.  Competition for high-quality shows could set off a bidding war in Hollywood, he says. With more stars in the mix, writers, directors and actors could be seeing bigger paydays.

"Amazon very much wants to cut into the Netflix market share. And Amazon has a much bigger checkbook," Pachter says.

That ultimately could mean that everyone in the entertainment game could be paying more for content, Pachter says.

Stay tuned. Or stay streaming, that is.

Five weather warnings for Republic

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-13 14:50
Five weather warnings are issued by the meteorological service in the Republic of Ireland.

Politicians 'cowardly' over science

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-13 14:22
Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, says politicians often show a "total lack of leadership" in ignoring scientific findings.

For Some Immigrants, Temporary Life In U.S. Can Mean A Long Stay

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 14:19

A little-known program allows some immigrants to stay in the U.S. when a disaster strikes their home country. Designed to be short-term, Temporary Protected Status can sometimes last for many years.

» E-Mail This

VIDEO: West Ham-Everton shootout in full

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-13 14:16
Watch all 20 penalties as West Ham progress into the fourth round of the FA Cup after beating 10-man Everton 9-8 on penalties in a thrilling cup tie.

West Ham United 2-2 Everton (9-8 on pens)

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-13 14:16
West Ham goalkeeper Adrian is the hero as the London side beat 10-man Everton 9-8 on penalties in a dramatic FA Cup tie.

Sir David Murray companies wound up

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-13 14:11
A number of companies run by former Rangers owner Sir David Murray are being wound up, according to papers filed at the Court of Session.

VIDEO: CDC Director optimistic on Ebola

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-13 13:32
Dr Tom Frieden warns against complacency in fighting the outbreak

England forced to cancel meeting

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-13 13:30
England manager Roy Hodgson is forced to cancel a dinner meeting with his players because they are too busy.

German Leaders Attend Muslim Rally In Berlin

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 13:22

Chancellor Angela Merkel was among those who attended the event organized by two Muslim groups. The event was meant to counter growing support for a group that opposes Muslim immigration to Germany.

» E-Mail This

Jewell leaves West Brom after a week

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-13 13:20
Paul Jewell leaves his role as joint-assistant head coach at West Brom, just a week after he joined new boss Tony Pulis' team.

Guatemala ex-ruler no show at trial

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-13 13:19
The retrial on genocide charges of Guatemalan ex-military ruler Efrain Rios Montt is suspended again, after he fails to appear in court.

A Closer Look At Obama's Plan To Protect Consumer Data

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 13:19

This week, President Obama is talking about cybersecurity. One proposal sounds pretty straightforward: Alert users if their data has been hacked within 30 days. But critics say it misses the mark.

» E-Mail This

Scottish climber dies in Canada fall

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-13 13:09
A man from Scotland is reported to be among three climbers killed in a mountain accident in Canada.

Scores killed in Malawi floods

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:50
At least 48 people are killed and around 23,000 forced from their homes by heavy flooding in Malawi, the country's leader says.

Carter eases past Hawkins in Masters

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:48
Ali Carter makes light work of Barry Hawkins with a 6-1 win in the first round of the Masters in London.

VIDEO: Dog eyes chance of a new home

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:47
A Border Collie with unusual odd-coloured eyes is seeking a new home.

How Urbane: Dog Rides Seattle Bus To Get To The Park

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:45

A well-mannered dog has charmed her fellow bus riders by using Seattle's transit system to get to the dog park.

» E-Mail This

Boko Haram May Control Up To 20 Percent Of Nigeria

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:32

Audie Cornish speaks with Alexis Okeowo, New Yorker correspondent, for a check-in on Boko Haram and the territory they now control in Nigeria.

» E-Mail This

GMO Potatoes Have Arrived. But Will Anyone Buy Them?

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-13 12:30

New GMO potatoes don't bruise as easily, and, when fried, they have less of a potentially harmful chemical. Yet some big chip and french fry makers won't touch them because of the stigma of GMOs.

» E-Mail This