By Dan Moren
June 1, 2016 8:22 AM PT
Bezos says Amazon Video on Apple TV awaits “acceptable business terms”
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told The Verge that the reason for Amazon Prime Video’s absence on the new Apple TV comes down to “acceptable business terms.” The Verge asked if that had to do with the 30-percent cut Apple takes; Bezos in turn responded with a non-answer about private business discussions staying private.
Except that theory about the 30-percent cut doesn’t quite make sense. After all, Prime Video is a subscription service, meaning that developers can sidestep Apple’s 30-percent cut by simply asking them to sign up via the web instead of through the app itself—Netflix and Hulu take similar approaches.1 In fact, Amazon already has a video app for iOS that works this way, and the company’s recently launched Comixology Unlimited service follows the same pattern. What’s to stop Amazon from doing the same thing on iOS?
The Verge also quizzed Bezos on why Amazon stopped selling the Apple TV, to which the CEO repeated the company line that Amazon only wants to sell players that work with Prime Video. Chicken, meet egg.
This whole situation strikes me as a “bargaining chip” scenario—something for Amazon to leverage if and when it wants something from Apple. As I’ve said before, Amazon’s less in the business of selling its own competitor to the Apple TV than it is in selling its platform: the more places that customers can watch their Prime Video, the better for Amazon.
Yes, they also now both let you sign up via iTunes instead. I suspect Amazon won’t go that route. ↩
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