BY ALEX WEPRIN | HollywoodReporter.Com
The cash was spent on original shows for Prime Video and for paying musicians through Amazon Music.
As the streaming video wars heat up, the amount of cash the major players spend on content is rising accordingly.
According to its annual report filed Friday morning, Amazon spent $13 billion on video and music content in 2021, a $2 billion increase from 2020 when it spent $11 billion on content.
“Total video and music expense includes licensing and production costs associated with content offered within Amazon Prime memberships, and costs associated with digital subscriptions and sold or rented content,” the report said. In other words, it includes the cost of Prime Video shows like The Boys, and the production of the company’s Thursday Night Football broadcasts, as well as payments to musicians for its Amazon Music product.
Despite the increasing costs, Amazon still spends significantly less than many of its competitors, underscoring how its streaming video business is viewed as a sweetener for the overall Prime bundle, rather than a business in and of itself. Netflix spent $17 billion on content in fiscal 2021, while Disney says it intends to spend some $33 billion for content in 2022.
Amazon on Thursday announced a $20 price increase for its Amazon Prime memberships, citing the significant growth in Prime Video content as one of the factors in its decision. “Since 2018, Prime Video has tripled the number of Amazon originals,” CFO Brian Olsavsky told analysts on the company’s earnings call. The company also cited the expansion of sale day delivery services, as well as services like pharmacy delivery.
And content spend is only expected to rise, with the company taking over Thursday Night Football exclusively next season in a deal estimated to cost $1 billion per year on its own, and high-profile shows like The Lord of the Rings, with nine-figure price tags for each season.