Think about where the biggest U.S. ecommerce retailer is going now: live, linear TV. Yep. Back to the future -- or maybe just the present.
Here’s the pitch from Amazon when it comes to hiring TV technical people:
“Linear TV enables customers to watch 24/7 streams of their favorite TV stations airing programs including sports, news, movies, award shows, special events and TV shows. You will be responsible for designing the end-to-end customer experience for how customers discover and watch Linear TV content.”
And if the linear TV reference is surprising, how about this word from a similar TV job posting on LinkedIn: broadcast?
Can Amazon make it any clearer about its intention?
If all this seems kind of retro, you haven’t been following Amazon's overall business intentions. It doesn’t just want to be in one area of the entertainment business, for example. It wants to be everywhere and everything — big, small, newfangled digital businesses, whatever.
Live, linear TV isn’t just on the mind of Amazon. Roku recently said it would be expanding its roster of TV channels/apps by 30 live linear TV channels.
All this comes as new premium video services from traditional and new digital media companies — Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV+, Peacock, Hulu, Sling TV, to name a few — look to differentiate themselves from each other.
Some might look at live, linear TV as the last vestige of at-home entertainment for consumers.
Others might see having new live channels on new pay TV systems — like Amazon Fire TV and Roku — as a way of presenting a full complement of at-home entertainment TV, not just for young digital-first consumers, but for older TV consumers set in their more traditional TV ways.
“Scheduled TV,” as some are calling this, includes the most obvious of live TV content— news and sports programming.
Amazon and Roku want to avail themselves of any and all TV platforms to ready themselves to possible TV content opportunities to come.
One other positive consideration: Big brand and other TV advertisers will cheer all this, those who want their messaging seen in real-time, with little in the way of fast-forwarding/skipping interruptions.
No worries, consumers. There is always your remote control’s mute button, and your mobile phone screen available for more distractions.