Amazon has acquired Pushbutton, the company that has developed applications for LoveFilm on a number of devices, such as the Sony PlayStation3. Amazon acquired control of LoveFilm in January, having previously held a significant stake in the company. Amazon has also announced licensing agreements with NBC Universal and CBS, increasing the number of titles it can stream to its Prime Instant Video customers, as it responds to the success of Netflix in the United States.
“Pushbutton has a strong reputation for delivering amazing user experiences on connected devices,” said Greg Greeley, who is responsible for European retail at Amazon. “They were instrumental in helping launch the LoveFilm player through a variety of devices, and we look forward to helping them continue to innovate on behalf of customers.”
It seems that Amazon wants to increase control of its online video distribution channel by gaining direct access to application and interface development capabilities. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
An Amazon representative told informitv: “Pushbutton will continue to operate independently, serving their existing customers. There are a number of exciting opportunities for the future, but it’s too early to go into details.”
Pushbutton has been a leading developer of interactive television applications in the United Kingdom, with clients including the BBC, ITV, Sky and Virgin Media. The founders and key staff of the company, which was formed in 2002, previously worked at BSkyB. It is understood the management and staff structure will remain the same.
The company started out purely as an interactive television consultancy, but soon moved to offer full design, build and delivery of services, building an impressive client base and earning a strong reputation for their creative work and technical implementation.
Paula Byrne, the managing director of Pushbutton, said: “With Amazon and LoveFilm’s support, we look forward to offering our clients, as well as their customers, even more ways to access digital services in the future.”
Lesley Mackenzie, who is responsible for digital strategy at LoveFilm and also formerly worked at Sky, previously praised Pushbutton when announcing their partnership. She said: “Their ability to quickly get to grips with delivering to a diverse range of digital platforms including consoles, IPTV and a multiplicity of connected TV and handheld devices is second to none.”
Separately, Amazon in America announced a licensing agreement with NBCUniversal covering selected Universal Pictures movies, making them available for streaming as part of its Instant Video streaming service. It follows a similar agreement announced the previous week with CBS.
Over 9,000 movies and television shows will now be available at now additional cost to customers with an Amazon Prime membership. That is still some way the 20,000 or so movies and television shows available online to Netflix subscribers.
Amazon reported sales for the last quarter of just over £6 billion, up over 50% on the same period the previous year, although profits were down slightly, due to investment in order fulfillment, marketing and technology infrastructure.
“Low prices, expanding selection, fast delivery and innovation are driving the fastest growth we’ve seen in over a decade,” said chief executive Jeff Bezos.
Building on the success of its Kindle electronic book reader, Amazon is believed to be planning to launch a tablet computer to compete with the Apple iPad.