Amazon's ability to connect content to commerce won over the Tolkien estate back in 2017, when the company bought the rights to a "Lord of the Rings" series. Unlike Netflix or HBO, Amazon can market its content within an Amazon search for merchandise. Already today, a search for "The Hobbit" doesn't just show you the book to buy, but it also gives you a chance to subscribe to watch the movie on Prime Video.
Amazon's next big splash could be sports, especially live sports programming. The company has already acquired some streaming rights to Thursday night football and Premier League games, but it has yet to land a huge exclusive sports rights deal.
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That could change in the coming years as league rights to the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball come up for grabs. Professional sports leagues may initially be hesitant to sell their rights exclusively to a nontraditional player like Amazon, but the potential to make a bigger profit may make the option more appealing.
"Amazon looks at content creation through a very different lens than a traditional media company," said Rich Greenfield, a media analyst at BTIG. "A traditional media company is, 'Well, how much advertising can I generate from this?' Amazon, the first thing when they talked about the NFL, the number one metric they were looking at is 'new to Prime,' meaning new people that have come into the Prime ecosystem because those are people that spend a lot more over the year than people that are not part of the Prime ecosystem."
The bigger battle, beyond just content, could be ownership of the home. Seamlessly connecting the Amazon Echo to TVs and mobile devices could revolutionize how people find shows and movies. So far, Amazon and Apple haven't really gone toe to toe. But as Apple gets into original content too, that competition is coming.