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More fingers, more pies: now Amazon makes its own movies

Ever-ambitious retailer outlines plans to become a movie studio

Amazon has outlined plans to become a movie studio, making films for cinema release as well as its own Prime streaming service. The company has increasingly moved into the content business over the past few years, and already makes several of its own award-winning TV series.

Now, the company wants to get into feature-length movies, either buying in or producing its own films for general release in cinemas. Amazon plans to release those movies to customers of its own Prime streaming service as soon as a month after they appear in the cinema, giving customers another reason to sign up for the £80 per year subscription, which includes free delivery of goods and various digital content packages. Amazon claims films typically take between 39 and 52 weeks to arrive on subscription video services after their debut in cinemas.

“We look forward to expanding our production efforts into feature films,” said Roy Price, vice president of Amazon Studios. “Our goal is to create close to 12 movies a year with production starting later this year.”

Amazon already has some pedigree when it comes to producing television. Its in-house series Transparent won two Golden Globes at last week’s ceremony, and it’s had several other award nominations.

Amazon’s chief rival in the streaming business, Netflix, has also produced its own award-winning shows, including House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, making both companies less reliant on bidding wars to land the best content from dedicated television/movie studios.

Amazon also has its own publishing arm, which delivers a variety of non-fiction and fiction titles to the Kindle Store. The company spent much of last year embroiled in a public dispute with publisher Hachette over the price and royalties collected for eBooks, and would doubtless prefer to cut out the middleman where possible.

The same applies to the games industry, with Amazon operating its own games studio. The Amazon Fire TV, which has been heavily discounted in recent weeks, includes an optional games controller, allowing owners to play titles such as Minecraft Pocket Edition and Asphalt 8. The Amazon Games Studio recently released The Unmaking, a real-time strategy game, exclusively for owners of Kindle tablets. The game is streamed over the internet using Amazon’s cloud computing infrastructure.

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