As Amazon.com spends more money on original and exclusive content for its streaming-video service, the Internet retail giant is declining to renew deals for some TV content.
Amazon Prime Instant Video, available through the Prime free-shipping program, recently removed shows licensed from Scripps Networks Interactive and Discovery Communications, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Scripps stood to earn $11 million in 2014 licensing revenue from Amazon, according to Sanford Bernstein senior analyst Todd Juenger. Scripps has about $0.04 earnings per share in jeopardy, out of a projected EPS of $3.95, unless the programmer can reach a deal with another SVOD service like Netflix or Hulu.
Discovery, for its part, has told Wall Street that no SVOD licensing revenue was factored into fiscal 2014 guidance. “We continue to see upside to that conservative assumption, believing Discovery is likely to get at least a small deal from one of the SVOD players,” Juenger wrote in a research note.
Unlike Scripps, Discovery has a deal in place with Netflix. In addition, Discovery is continuing to talk with Amazon about renewing the SVOD licensing pact, according to a source close to the situation.
Amazon’s decision to let Discovery and Scripps content go is a positive for Netflix, Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil wrote in a note, “as it is a validation of their content strategy as well as the fact that it will take time for Amazon to ramp up its scale in original/scripted programming to be on par with that of Netflix.”
Scripps, Discovery and Amazon declined to comment.
Amazon announced a deal with Scripps in February 2013 — the cable programmer’s first SVOD deal — covering hundreds of episodes of shows from HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Travel Channel.
As of last week, the Scripps content was no longer available on Amazon Prime Instant Video. Those include “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” (hosted by Guy Fieri, pictured above), “Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day,” “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,” “Cupcake Wars,” “House Hunters” and “House Hunters International,” “Iron Chef America,” “Man v. Food,” “Selling New York” and “Selling LA,” “Throwdown With Bobby Flay,” “Chopped,” “Ghost Adventures” and “Yard Crashers,” among others. The shows are still available for purchase and download from Amazon Instant Video.
Discovery shows covered under a 2012 pact included Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” and Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars.” According to Amazon’s website, those series are now available only for purchase.
Amazon cut deals with A+E Networks and Viacom, after both programmers were dropped by Netflix. But now, noted Juenger, “it seems Amazon is getting selectively choosier… which must cast a pall over any belief that SVOD licensing will continue to be a secure, growing revenue stream for any of the major content owners.”
Meanwhile, Amazon is gearing up to greenlight a second wave of original series. Out of the 10 pilots released last month for feedback, the company has ordered at least four — dramas “Bosch” and “The After” and comedies “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Transparent” — to full series, Variety reported earlier this month.
Amazon over the past year also has struck several exclusive SVOD pacts for individual TV series, including CBS’s “Under the Dome,” NBC’s “Hannibal,” FX’s “The Americans,” PBS’s “Downton Abbey,” BBC America’s “Orphan Black” and Warner Bros.’s “Veronica Mars” TV series.