Weekend Wrap-up – Alexa vs Google, Amazon's DVR, and More

Google Assistant vs Alexa

In an effort to compete with Amazon’s screen-driven smart speaker, Echo Show, Google allegedly has plans to release a competing product later this year. According to sources, “Google targets to ship some 3 million units for the first batch of the new model of smart speaker that comes with a screen.” This comes shortly after a host of reports showing that Alexa isn’t being used for shopping, one of the smart speaker’s competitive advantages over Google Assistant.

Alexa, meet Frank

Amazon is reportedly working on a DVR device, capable of recording live TV, which apparently has the codename “Frank.” It is yet to be seen whether or not Frank will be a part of Amazon’s Fire device line, or have the same streaming capabilities as Fire TV. As cable is a steadily declining industry, Amazon’s move into DVR may be another demographic-widening strategy, as the retailer attempts to lure a diverse range of shoppers into the Amazon ecosystem of products and services. For context, there are nearly three times as many Prime Subscribers in the U.S. (estimated 90 million) as there are cable subscribers (about 34 million).

Amazon May Acquire Movie Theater Chain

In what may be an effort to attract Prime subscribers and expand their brick and mortar presence, Amazon is reportedly looking to acquire Landmark Theatres, a major movie theater chain. “The chain’s owners have been working with investment banker Stephens Inc. on a possible sale,” say Bloomberg’s anonymous sources, although no finite decisions have been made.

Amazon has placed heavy focus on entertainment, spending $4.5 billion on original content, such as TV shows and movies, in 2017 — second only to Netflix’s $6 billion budget, and well above HBO’s $2 billion. In addition, Amazon has dipped their toes into the theater business already, offering exclusive Prime member screenings of movies before their official release date.