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Amazon On Pace to Spend $7 Billion on Content in 2019

In a rare move, e-commerce giant reveals how much it spent on music and video during Q1

Amazon said on Friday it spent $1.7 billion on music and video during the first quarter of 2019, marking the first time the e-commerce giant has shared a look at its quarterly content expenses.

The figure, included in a regulatory filing with the SEC, puts Amazon on pace to spend nearly $7 billion on content this year. In the filing, Amazon revealed its content spend increased 13% year-over-year compared to the $1.5 billion spent on music and video during the same period last year.

While the filing is illuminating, combining music and video costs makes it difficult to directly compare Amazon’s budget with other formidable streamers like Netflix, which is expected to spend up to $15 billion on shows in 2019. The $1.7 billion expense covers the cost of licensing and producing content, as well as the costs “associated with digital subscriptions and sold or rented content,” Amazon said in its filing.

It’s also worth pointing out Amazon’s business model is different than its streaming competitors. While services like Netflix and Hulu — and, when it launches later this fall, Disney+ — charge customers a monthly fee to watch content, Amazon instead offers its shows as part of its Prime membership, which runs $119 per year and includes other perks like “free” 2-day shipping.

The filing comes one day after Amazon reported it nearly doubled Wall Street’s Q1 earnings expectations.

During its Thursday earnings call, David Fildes, Amazon’s director of investor relations, said the company is “continuing to invest meaningfully in digital video” and is “very excited” about the shows it has on its service. Amazon Prime Video is the home to original series like “Jack Ryan” and the Emmy-winning “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” It also recently debuted the Childish Gambino-Rihanna music film “Guava Island.”