retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon plans to unveil "a video-streaming device in time for the holiday selling season, according to people briefed on the company's plans. The set-top box, which would pit the online retailer against a host of established rivals, is a small device that resembles a Roku Inc. player and is similarly styled as a platform to run apps and content from a variety of sources, these people said."

The story says that the device will also serve as yet another way to deliver Amazon's existing content,and is seen as a way for the company to bolster its Prime membership list, making it the preferred way of accessing content (as opposed to, say Netflix or iTunes).

Amazon hasn't actually confirmed the strategy, a release date or pricing for the device, but the story notes that CEO Jeff Bezos "likes to sell devices, such as its Kindle Fire tablets, at close to the cost of manufacturing and profit from the sale of services available through the hardware."
KC's View:
It is Amazon's master strategy, to control of not just the purchasing of content, but also its delivery and consumption. And it is an approach that more retailers ought to think about, in terms of locking customers into their "system" through a variety of tactics.