Amazon: An Emmy in a Video-Streaming World Still Owned by Netflix

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Amazon Instant Video has earned an Emmy Award for its work on personalized recommendation engines for video discovery. But is it ready to compete with Netflix?

The Amazon Effect

Its founder just bought a newspaper for US$ 250 million. It’s won an Emmy for its work in providing a quality customer experience in video-streaming. 

Not a bad start to the month for Amazon.

The Seattle company’s Amazon Instant Video earned The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ 2013 Technology & Engineering Emmy Award for its work on personalized recommendation engines for video discovery.

As if Amazon needs recognition to add to its customer experience management dossier. After all, Jeff Bezos’ company is already known for its successful customer engagement and even earned a moniker in this arena, the “Amazon Effect.” 

Amazon Instant Video develops tools and algorithms that help customers dip their feet in exactly the right waters when searching for a good flick or TV show.

“Our goal is to give customers the best possible movie and TV watching experience,” Bill Carr, vice president of music and video for Amazon, said in a company release. “That means both enabling customers to find exactly what they’re looking for and helping them discover new TV shows and movies in a personalized way."

The Emmy is certainly welcome kudos for Amazon. But has it crossed a plateau in the world of instant video?

Learning Opportunities

Taking on Netflix

Not exactly. They are not swimming with the big boys, Netflix, quite yet. 

The NPD Group, a global information company out of Port Washington, NY, released numbers last month citing Netflix’s continued dominance of the subscription video-on-demand viewership (SVOD) market. Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix owned a 90 percent share of video-streaming units during Q1 of 2013, NPD reports. 

Four out of five streams are for TV shows, and Netflix holds an 89 percent share there. Another competitor, HuluPlus of Los Angeles, came in at 10 percent of TV streams in Q1, while Amazon Prime accounts for just 2 percent of the overall TV units streamed, according to NPD.

As for Amazon and its video recognition, it's also touting its new Video Finder, which predicts customer preferences through mood and topic -- and ultimately intends to guide them efficiently to a good viewing choice. Amazon’s looking distinctly at viewers’ habits and likes, it says.

Amazon also uses other algorithm tools to help viewing customers find their choices, such as:

  • Genre-based recommendations
  • Predicting customer choices through aggregate viewing behavior
  • Personalized movie and TV recommendations based on customer taste and preference
Amazon is in the hunt to obtain exclusive broadcast rights in the online-viewing sphere. It won that privilege for the PBS series Downtown Abbey earlier this summer, and CBS’ Under the Dome.