Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Ahead of Tablet Launch, Amazon Boasts About Its Digital Video Library

Amazon says that recently announced deals with CBS and NBC Universal have pushed up its library of digital movies it rents and sells to 100,000 titles, up from 90,000.

But let’s be very clear about this: The “Amazon Instant Video” service referenced above is the equivalent of the one that outlets like Apple’s iTunes offers. It’s not the equivalent of the subscription streaming service that Netflix offers.

Amazon does have a Netflix-like offering, which it gives free to customers who are paying for or trying out its Prime shipping service. That catalog is now at 9,000 titles, or about half of what Netflix offers to its digital subscribers.

The distinctions are a bit confusing, and Amazon could make them clearer, but perhaps it has a reason for keeping it that way. It’s also possible that Amazon will try to make some significant changes before it rolls out its new tablet device, slated for October. But no need to mix apples and oranges and grapes just yet.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work