nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

nScreenNoise – Why an Amazon DVR makes no sense

nScreenMedia Video Podcast

Amazon is rumored to be working on a DVR to record live television. Here are three reasons it doesn’t make sense for the company to follow through and release it.

Chapter 1: What we know about the Amazon DVR (0:20)

Bloomberg says Amazon is working on a standalone DVR to record live TV. Codenamed Frank, the device will connect to the Amazon Fire TV over Wi-Fi. Users will be able to play the shows back on any of their connected devices.

Chapter 2: Where the live TV comes from (1:20)

The only realistic option is for the DVR to connect to a home antenna and record over-the-air transmissions. Connecting to a cable TV system is possible, but a subscriber would be much more likely to use the pay TV operator’s DVR.

However, there will be challenges in getting people to use an antenna. There are 16.5 million antenna users in the US, and the market is showing solid growth. However, Sling TV asks customers to get an antenna and a special AirTV streaming media player to watch local TV. The service’s growth has slowed dramatically in 2018, while competitors that include local channels are continuing to grow strongly.

Chapter 3: vMVPDs, Hulu a better solution (3:50)

Virtual MVPDs like YouTube TV, DirecTV Now, and FuboTV are putting much effort behind providing local TV channels. The services also include at least basic DVR functionality in all plans. If a consumer wants to watch a local game, signing up for a vMVPD delivers immediate access whereas an antenna solution could take a few days to install.

If a consumer wants to watch recent TV shows, an $8 a month Hulu subscription gets most of the content of interest.

Chapter 4: Business reasons could scupper DVR plans (5:20)

CBS All Access is available from Amazon Channels. It just added live local channels to the Amazon version of its service. nScreenMedia expects all broadcasters to launch direct-to-consumer apps within the next two years. They will probably partner with Amazon in the same way as CBS. A DVR is competitive with the broadcasters’ apps in Amazon Channels.


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