Amazon Prime Video, which is currently only available in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria and Japan, will soon be moving into about 200 other countries and territories, the sources said.
The Seattle e-commerce company is already in the midst of launching the video streaming program in India after having made Amazon Prime Video a standalone service in the U.S. this past April for $8.99 per month, $1 less than Netflix's standard plan. Previously it had only been available as part of an Amazon Prime membership, which offers free two-day shipping on items in the U.S. for $99 a year or $9.99 a month.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the reports, but Jeremy Clarkson, star of Amazon's new "The Grand Tour" automotive comedy show, seemed to confirm the rumors on Wednesday over Twitter (TWTR) .
So. People of Ireland, Canada, Australia and pretty well everywhere else. You WILL be able to watch the Grand Tour. Amazon has gone global.— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) November 16, 2016
Clarkson said in another tweet that "The Grand Tour" will be available for streaming in countries outside of Amazon's current locations "in a couple of weeks." It's not clear if Clarkson meant that all of Amazon's video offerings will be available, or just "The Grand Tour," however.
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"I'm not surprised to see Amazon accelerate its pace of expansion," Maxim Group analyst Tom Forte said, but he added that the reported rate of growth seems a bit startling on a near-term basis.
Regardless, Forte noted that video has become an increasingly important area for the company. "When I look at Amazon and I look at what it calls their pillars, their foundation -- Prime, cloud computing, Marketplace -- I think the company thinks its video offerings could be another pillar," he said.
Amazon indicated as much in its third-quarter conference call on Oct. 27 when CFO Brian Olsavsky said that the company's spending on video content and marketing is set to double year-over-year in the second half of 2016.
In order to grow Prime Video's international presence, Amazon must pay for and hold the international rights to its own content, Olsavsky added.
Concerns about Amazon's spending levels caused its stock to fall following its third-quarter earnings call. But Forte said that investors shouldn't be concerned about the amount of money Amazon is planning to spend on its video content.
"I have an enormous amount of respect and trust in their capital allocation," Forte said, noting that the company's move is a sign of "strength and confidence" in the service.
Pivotal Research's Jeff Wlodarczak was similarly bullish. He said that Amazon's willingness "to spend big dollars on increasingly localized content and deliver an experience -- commercial-free binge -- that traditional media companies are unlikely to offer" will make Prime video successful internationally.
"To focus just on the near-term margin pressure of international expansion would be a bit too near-sighted," Forte added.
Amazon's push into the international market has not only highlighted the company's spending, but has also put a spotlight on Netflix.
Jefferies analysts John Janedis, Brian Paturzo, Jaime Morris and Brian Fitzgerald said in an analyst note Friday that they're concerned about Amazon's impact on Netflix's global subscriber growth rate. They contended that although it's still too early to tell, Amazon looks poised to compete with Netflix on pricing and locally-created content.
The analysts have an "underperform" rating on Netflix and an $80 price target. Jefferies also has a "buy" rating and a $950 price target on Amazon.
On Friday, shares of Amazon were up 0.6% to $760.81, while Netflix stock was down 0.5% to $114.44. Year to date, Amazon shares are up about 13%.
"[Netflix's] price point in many non-U.S. markets may be aggressive given the price point of some local offerings, customs to not pay or pay only a modest amount for content, and the cheap cost of the bundle," the Jefferies analysts wrote.
Forte, however, thinks there's room for both companies in the segment. "Ultimately I think there's opportunity for multiple over-the-top players," Forte said.
"In the end this was never going to be a market completely dominated by Netflix," Pivotal Research's Wlodarczak said. "There is room for approximately three players in many of these markets and the players that win are the ones that spend the most (and have the highest quality original content)."
He added that having Amazon in the market could help spur growth for both companies.
In the end, Forte noted that the company that finds success in international markets will do so based on its distribution and the quality of its content.