Amazon CEO Andy Jassy: ‘It’s still early days for us in media’

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Amazon CEO Andy Jassy told CNBC the company has big ambitions in entertainment, from live sports to original content for Prime subscribers.

“It’s still early days for us in media,” Jassy told “TechCheck” co-host Jon Fortt in an interview that aired Tuesday morning. “We’re off to a great start but we do believe we have an opportunity to provide a unique viewing experience for our customers with really original and creative content.”

Amazon in May announced it would acquire MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, in a move broadly viewed as underscoring the company’s growing ambition in Hollywood. The company has also been aggressively ramping up its investments in media and entertainment, with $11 billion spent on content for its streaming video and music services in 2020, up from $7.8 billion the year prior.

Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings” television series, expected to debut in September 2022, will cost at least $465 million for the first season, an unprecedented budget for a streaming show.

Hundreds of millions of people are now watching Amazon’s original content, said Jassy, in one of his first interviews since taking the reins as CEO from founder Jeff Bezos.

Amazon has increasingly set its sights on live sports content as it hopes to hook more viewers and convert them into Prime subscribers. Sources told CNBC that Amazon has a serious interest in the National Football League’s “Sunday Ticket” and is in talks with the league about the package.

Jassy declined to comment on Amazon’s appetite for “Sunday Ticket,” but he said the company has a “very important partnership” with the NFL, citing AWS’ previous agreements with the league.

Amazon’s lineup of branded TV sets, the first it’s ever launched, could serve as a new format to combine entertainment and commerce, Jassy said. The TVs are equipped with Amazon’s Fire TV software and Alexa voice control.

“Increasingly, people will do commerce in these mechanisms,” Jassy said. “Between what we do with Alexa and what we do in the living room, I think we have an opportunity to change what’s possible for people and what’s accessible to people.”

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