On January 24th, Amazon hands the mic to Bill Maher, who will host a new on-line series of webcasts called, "Amazon Fishbowl."
That’s correct, after over ten years on the web, Amazon is getting into the original content business. Each week, on Thursday evenings, the company will host Maher’s program, which will feature various authors, artists, and directors. As one might expect, most of the guests will have tie-ins with current or new products that are available through the e-retailer. However, despite the move into the world of "Web 2.0," unlike the earlier moves by the traditional networks, Amazon will only stream the content live on their website and the shows will not be available for download.
I applaud Amazon for taking the step forward to offer original content, but the strategy is flawed. Consumers are reaching out for alternatives from the traditional media venues but they want to do so on their own terms. That is why there has been great success for products like TiVo, and on-line content like audio and video podcasts. However, today’s audience wants to have the flexibility to catch programming when and where they want, which is why I would strongly recommended that they make these shows available for download. Not only would Amazon would benefit further by making this content available for download through their own site, but they can also reach new audiences through other distribution channels such as iTunes, Yahoo, AOL, and the many independent media directories.