Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN - Analyst Report) announced that its film and TV production division, Amazon Studios, plans to shoot all of its 2014 original series, both comedies and dramas, using 4K Ultra high definition (HD).
4K Ultra HD is the latest and most advanced technology in HD video. It offers contents with horizontal resolution on the order of 4,000 pixels. The use of horizontal resolution technology is a qualitative shift from the vertical resolution offered by older HDTV technology. The technology will significantly enhance the video with unprecedented picture clarity and sound quality.
Earlier this year, Amazon Studios announced that it will debut five new comedy and drama pilots in 2014. Titles include The After (from a creator of the X-Files), Bosch (by Michael Connelly),Mozart in the Jungle (Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola), The Rebels and Transparent (from Jill Soloway, co-executive producer of Six Feet Under).
As part of the program, viewers can watch these pilots for free on Amazon Instant Video (Amazon’s digital video streaming and download service) and provide their feedback. Amazon Studios will take a call on which shows to produce, going forward, depending on viewer feedback.
The pilots will be exclusively available to Prime members through Prime Instant Video and LoveFilm in the U.K. for no additional cost. LoveFilm is Amazon’s European DVD and streaming movie service, which has almost 2 million subscribers.
Many technology companies are getting into content production, including Hulu and Netflix Inc. (NFLX - Analyst Report), to reduce their reliance on traditional media companies. Amazon has been working on this for a while now and we believe these efforts will bring in millions of dollars and help the company to increase its market share.
We expect the 4K Ultra HD market to become more competitive in the near future. These pilots will make Amazon a significant force in the video streaming segment and increase competition for Netflix. However, the online video streaming company, Netflix,is already giving trial runs for the 4K Ultra HD video services.
Currently, Amazon shares retain a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other better-ranked stocks include Autobytel Inc. (ABTL - Snapshot Report) and Geeknet Inc (GKNT - Snapshot Report). Both these carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).