In 2005, Amazon announced the creation of Amazon Prime, a membership offering free two-day shipping within the contiguous United States on all eligible purchases for a flat annual fee of $79 (equivalent to $99 in 2017), as well as discounted one-day shipping rates. Amazon launched the program in Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom in 2007; in France (as "Amazon Premium") in 2008, in Italy in 2011, in Canada in 2013, and in India on July 26, 2016.
Carnival of Souls is a film in the vein of Night of the Hunter: artistically ambitious, from a first-time director, but largely overlooked in its initial release until its rediscovery years later. Granted, it’s not the masterpiece of Night of the Hunter, but it’s a chilling, effective, impressive tale of ghouls, guilt and restless spirits. The story follows a woman (Candace Hilligoss) on the run from her past who is haunted by visions of a pale-faced man, beautifully shot (and played) by director Herk Harvey. As she seemingly begins to fade in and out of existence, the nature of her reality itself is questioned. Carnival of Souls is vintage psychological horror on a miniscule budget, and has since been cited as an influence in the fever dream visions of directors such as David Lynch. To me, it’s always felt something like a movie-length episode of The Twilight Zone, and I mean that in the most complimentary way I can. Rod Serling would no doubt have been a fan. —Jim Vorel
But with that awesome power comes...strange choices. For some of us, that one-click checkout button can lead to some unusual impulse buys. For others, it's all too easy to start browsing Amazon in a late-night haze, saying yes to things you'd ordinarily never consider you needed in your life. But now that you've got a five-pound bag of Skittles or a dedicated wall-mounted purse hanger in your life, you've got to make the most of it, right?
Another potential growth area for Amazon is it advertising business. The company is expected to grab 4.1% of the total domestic digital ad spend this year to move into third-place behind Google (GOOGL - Free Report) and Facebook (FB - Free Report) , according to an eMarketer report. Amazon only claims a tiny percentage of ad dollars compared to its peers, but the e-commerce firm is projected to see its share of U.S. digital ad spending climb to 7% by 2020 to hit $10.92 billion.
Amazon is still by far the biggest cloud computing firm, with its high-margin AWS business jumping 49% to $6.12 billion in the second quarter. Amazon held the top spot in terms of market share at 34%, which came in well-above second-place Microsoft’s (MSFT - Free Report) 14%, IBM’s (IBM - Free Report) 8%, Google’s 6%, and Alibaba’s (BABA - Free Report) 4%, according to Synergy Research Group.
Good delivery system, reasonably priced, decent movie and tv show selection, but some of the original programming is mediocre ranging to so-bad-it’ll-set-your-teeth-on-edge bad, shows like Transparent or Mozart in the Jungle start off strong but quickly degenerate into the worst Showtime-like cheesy schmaltz of star pimping, tired old tropes taking the place of plots, and comic relief comprising little more than a parade of characters written solely as one walking quirk each, while others like The Man in the High Castle are just jarringly bad from the get-go, seemingly written by a committee who studied what tonal elements make up a dystopian setting and then assembled these elements while committing zero interiority to the show. Aesthetics and taste are not Jeff Bezos’ strong suits, apparently. But otherwise this is a fine service, just don’t accidentally step off into Amazon’s own focus group-driven attempts at film or television production and you’ll be fine.
On July 15, 2015, to commemorate its 20th birthday, Amazon celebrated "Amazon Prime Day", which Amazon announced would feature deals for prime members that rivaled those on Black Friday. Also that month Amazon Prime announced that it would be signing Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, formerly of BBC's Top Gear, to begin working on The Grand Tour, due to be released in 2016. On July 13, 2016, Amazon Prime said customers placed 60 percent more orders worldwide on "Prime Day".