When Amazon first entered the entertainment space with its Prime Video division, the company said it was all about retail. Customers will come for movies and TV shows, but stay on stage and buy other items.
speaks in The New York Times At the Dealbook Summit Wednesday, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said he’s come to think that entertainment still plays that role, but that it’s not just an asset to boost subscriptions or shoe sales.
“I think over time we have opportunities to turn our Prime Video business into a standalone business with very attractive economics,” Jassi said.
Jassy offered a vision of Amazon becoming the center of the entertainment universe, where it produces its own programming but gives access to every other provider through its channel program.
“Consumers like to go to one place and find everything they want, they don’t want to go to 5 or 6 different places,” he said.
For now, however, Jassy told interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin that Prime Video will continue to serve as a driver for e-commerce and Prime subscriptions.
“The reality is that our Prime Video offering and all that content is a really important ingredient in why people choose to sign up for Prime,” he lamented, specifically calling out NFL Thursday Night Football. Jassi added that the company will continue to invest in sports, calling it an “unique asset” with unparalleled potential for prime signings.
Jassy also discussed the controversy surrounding an anti-Semitic book and movie promoted by NBA star Kyrie Irving. Noting that he’s Jewish, Jesse told Sorkin that “I’m concerned about anti-Semitism and I find it very abhorrent,” but he added that deciding to remove content that doesn’t clearly promote violence is a “slippery slope.” Contains content whose primary purpose is not to express hatred or attribute negative characteristics to people.
“You have to be willing to allow viewpoints that differ from yours,” he added, noting that Amazon has a board that reviews potentially objectionable content and decides what to do about it.
“There are a lot of books and a lot of content… We don’t want a store with a disclaimer on every page.”
Jassy also addressed the “very uncertain economic environment” and Amazon’s decision to undergo layoffs.
“We felt we needed to streamline our spending,” he said. “Our goal was to proceed very cautiously but firmly, though we planned to make strategic long-term bets that we thought could transform the company.”
But it will be a tough time for any C-suite executive.
“I think this time, this next year or two in the economy, will test the resolve of a lot of companies,” Jassy said.