retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Variety reports that Amazon spent a whopping $1.3 billion last year on original and exclusive programming made available on its Prime Instant Video, which essentially is its version of private label content designed to set it apart and give it a differential advantage. Which seems like a lot of money...until the same story reports that Netflix - which has a similar strategy - spent an even more whopping $3.8 billion.

"The total content-spending figures from Amazon and Netflix illustrate that — while they are using original content to generate buzz, aimed at attracting and retaining subs — the bulk of their budgets go toward licensing TV shows and movies from Hollywood," the story says. "Netflix execs have said they expect to continue to spend 10% of the company’s overall content outlay on original programming."
KC's View:
In the broadest sense, this points out something incredibly important - the need to differentiate by any means possible. Amazon and Netflix are just two of the companies that are gambling on the premise that it isn't just enough to be a conduit for content ... they have to be unique at every turn and in every possible way. I think it shows in the kinds of programming they are choosing, and in what I think is really sophisticated taste. (I'll have some more thoughts about this on Friday in "OffBeat.")

The lesson should be learned by every retailer, every marketer - "me, too" simply isn't acceptable. You gotta find your unique value proposition and work it, work it, work it....and then work it some more.