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New Comedy Show from Amazon

Zacks Equity Research

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) announced that its film production division, Amazon Studios plans to add a new comedy show to its production slate.

The show entitled "Betas" will be produced by Michael Lehman, Alan Freedland, Alan Cohen and Michael London. The story is about four computer geeks and their quest for nerd fame as they attempt to crack the ultimate code.

The new pilot will be added to the 13 pilots, which include six original children shows and seven comedy shows that are already in production. Management stated that all 14 pilots will be available on the Amazon Instant Video streaming service where viewers can watch them free of cost. Amazon Studios will take a call on which shows to produce going forward depending on viewer feedback.

The completed pilots will be exclusively available to Prime members through Prime Instant Video and Lovefilm in the U.K for no additional cost. Lovefilm is Amazon’s European DVD and streaming movie service, which has almost 2 million subscribers.

Many technology companies are getting into content production, including Hulu and Netflix (NFLX), in order to reduce their reliance on traditional media companies. Amazon has been working on this for a while now and we believe these efforts will bring in millions of dollars and help the company to increase its market share.

Besides developing its own original series, Amazon has also been beefing up its Prime Instant Video service through major licensing agreements. The company recently acquired exclusive streaming rights to the PBS hit drama "Downton Abbey," FX's Justified and the upcoming CBS show "Under the Dome."

Amazon is one of the leading players in an extremely fast-growing market. In the fourth quarter, Amazon’s revenues of $21.3 billion were up sequentially as well as from the year-ago quarter. Management attributed the increase in revenues to the growing consumption of digital content across different categories owing to the advantageous value proposition Amazon was able to provide to its customers.

Amazon currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks that have been performing well and are worth considering include Intersil Corp. (ISIL) and KLA-Tencor (KLAC), all carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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