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ComiXology staff among Amazon cuts

comiXology logo

News broke today of cuts to digital comics platform comiXology‘s staff by its parent company Amazon. The layoffs are part of a “role reductions” by the company due to the shifting economic reality. The layoffs are worldwide and impact multiple departments, not just comiXology.

The letter, which you can read below describes increases costs such as a labor shortage, so firing people is the logical direction to fix that issue… but we digress.

The savings in dollars will be folded into other initiatives like increasing local in-stock of popular items to decrease shipping costs for multiple items.

Chatter seems to indicate the comiXology staff cuts were deep though it’s unclear as to the exact impact and number let go. It’s only been described as “numerous” by some within the company stating it’s 50% to 75%.

ComiXology was an early digital comics storefront/reader and quickly dominated the market. They were then purchased in 2014 by Amazon leading into a bumpy time for the digital storefront. The platform was then transitioned into the Kindle store beginning in 2021 and a full transition as part of Amazon’s marketplace in 2022. The comiXology experience suffered numerous issues due to the transition causing a backlash online from irritated customers who felt the product had suffered and lost key features. ComiXology co-founder David Steinberger left comiXology in 2022 for another role in Amazon which he left not long after. Other key senior staff have moved on as well. From the outside, it would seem Amazon hasn’t leveraged the company as one would hope and generally have let it languish, never living up to the potential when it was purchased.

We’ll have more updates as they come and you can read the email sent to Amazon staff regarding the cuts below:

  • I want to send a note that today we will be notifying employees impacted by our decision to reduce our Amazon WW Stores corporate headcount. Notification emails will be sent out to impacted employees shortly, and we expect all notifications in the U.S., Canada, and Costa Rica to be completed *end of the day today. In other regions, we are following local processes, which may include time for consultation with employee representative bodies starting as soon as today and possibly resulting in longer timelines to communicate with impacted employees. And in China, we will notify employees after the Chinese New Year.

While it will be painful to say goodbye to many of our talented colleagues, it is an important part of a wider effort to lower our cost to serve so we can continue investing in the wide selection, low prices, and fast shipping that our customers love. During Covid, our first priority was scaling to meet the needs of our customers while ensuring the safety of our employees. I'm incredibly proud of this team's work during this period. Although other companies might have balked at the short-term economics, we prioritized investing for customers and employees during these unprecedented times.

The exit out of Covid this past year was challenging, with labor shortages, supply chain difficulties, inflation, and productivity overhang from growing our fulfillment and transportation networks so substantially during the pandemic, all of which increased our cost to serve. As we head into 2023, we remain in uncertain economic times. Therefore, we've determined that we need to take further steps to improve our cost structure so we can keep investing in the customer experience that attracts customers to Amazon and grows our business.

Our plan to improve our cost structure will unfortunately include role reductions. It is painful and rare for us to take this step, and I know how difficult this is on the individuals impacted and their loved ones. Our goal is to make sure every impacted employee is assisted in this transition, so for example, in the U.S., we are providing packages that include a 60-day non-working transitional period with full pay and benefits, plus an additional several weeks of severance depending on length of time with the company, a separation payment, transitional benefits, and external job placement support. I would like to personally thank each and every one of you affected by the planned changes for your contributions to our customers and your broader team.

Role reductions are one of several steps we are taking to lower our cost to serve. We are also increasing local in-stock of the most popular items, making it easier for customers to consolidate shipments for multiple items, and increasing the ways customers can buy the low-priced everyday essentials they need to keep their households running, all with the aim of reducing our network and delivery costs.

And by improving our cost structure, we are also able to continue investing meaningfully in big growth areas such as grocery, Amazon Business, Buy with Prime, and healthcare.

To those who are staying, I know this is a difficult time for you, as well, and it's important we support one another. We are saying goodbye to people we've worked closely with, and there is plenty of hard work ahead as we innovate on behalf of customers. Although I would prefer not to eliminate even a single role, we are making these changes now to keep investing in improving the customer experience, which will strengthen our business for the long term.

As I've shared with many of you, I have never been more optimistic about the opportunity in front of us. For over 25 years, we've innovated on behalf of customers, and in so many ways, we are just getting started. Lowering our cost to serve will be a core priority for us in the years ahead to fund even more innovation. It's not just about doing more with less, but rethinking how we serve our customers, how we organize internally, and what new areas of innovation we invest in. Every team has a role to play in finding ways to reduce costs while improving selection, pricing, and delivery speeds. I am confident that Amazonians will bring their ownership, innovation, and bias for action to this challenge, unlocking even more value for customers.
  • I want to send a note that today we will be notifying employees impacted by our decision to reduce our Amazon WW Stores corporate headcount. Notification emails will be sent out to impacted employees shortly, and we expect all notifications in the U.S., Canada, and Costa Rica to be completed *end of the day today. In other regions, we are following local processes, which may include time for consultation with employee representative bodies starting as soon as today and possibly resulting in longer timelines to communicate with impacted employees. And in China, we will notify employees after the Chinese New Year.

While it will be painful to say goodbye to many of our talented colleagues, it is an important part of a wider effort to lower our cost to serve so we can continue investing in the wide selection, low prices, and fast shipping that our customers love. During Covid, our first priority was scaling to meet the needs of our customers while ensuring the safety of our employees. I'm incredibly proud of this team's work during this period. Although other companies might have balked at the short-term economics, we prioritized investing for customers and employees during these unprecedented times.

The exit out of Covid this past year was challenging, with labor shortages, supply chain difficulties, inflation, and productivity overhang from growing our fulfillment and transportation networks so substantially during the pandemic, all of which increased our cost to serve. As we head into 2023, we remain in uncertain economic times. Therefore, we've determined that we need to take further steps to improve our cost structure so we can keep investing in the customer experience that attracts customers to Amazon and grows our business.

Our plan to improve our cost structure will unfortunately include role reductions. It is painful and rare for us to take this step, and I know how difficult this is on the individuals impacted and their loved ones. Our goal is to make sure every impacted employee is assisted in this transition, so for example, in the U.S., we are providing packages that include a 60-day non-working transitional period with full pay and benefits, plus an additional several weeks of severance depending on length of time with the company, a separation payment, transitional benefits, and external job placement support. I would like to personally thank each and every one of you affected by the planned changes for your contributions to our customers and your broader team.

Role reductions are one of several steps we are taking to lower our cost to serve. We are also increasing local in-stock of the most popular items, making it easier for customers to consolidate shipments for multiple items, and increasing the ways customers can buy the low-priced everyday essentials they need to keep their households running, all with the aim of reducing our network and delivery costs.

And by improving our cost structure, we are also able to continue investing meaningfully in big growth areas such as grocery, Amazon Business, Buy with Prime, and healthcare.

To those who are staying, I know this is a difficult time for you, as well, and it's important we support one another. We are saying goodbye to people we've worked closely with, and there is plenty of hard work ahead as we innovate on behalf of customers. Although I would prefer not to eliminate even a single role, we are making these changes now to keep investing in improving the customer experience, which will strengthen our business for the long term.

As I've shared with many of you, I have never been more optimistic about the opportunity in front of us. For over 25 years, we've innovated on behalf of customers, and in so many ways, we are just getting started. Lowering our cost to serve will be a core priority for us in the years ahead to fund even more innovation. It's not just about doing more with less, but rethinking how we serve our customers, how we organize internally, and what new areas of innovation we invest in. Every team has a role to play in finding ways to reduce costs while improving selection, pricing, and delivery speeds. I am confident that Amazonians will bring their ownership, innovation, and bias for action to this challenge, unlocking even more value for customers.

Text below:

I want to send a note that today we will be notifying employees impacted by our decision to reduce our Amazon WW Stores corporate headcount. Notification emails will be sent out to impacted employees shortly, and we expect all notifications in the U.S., Canada, and Costa Rica to be completed *end of the day today. In other regions, we are following local processes, which may include time for consultation with employee representative bodies starting as soon as today and possibly resulting in longer timelines to communicate with impacted employees. And in China, we will notify employees after the Chinese New Year.

While it will be painful to say goodbye to many of our talented colleagues, it is an important part of a wider effort to lower our cost to serve so we can continue investing in the wide selection, low prices, and fast shipping that our customers love. During Covid, our first priority was scaling to meet the needs of our customers while ensuring the safety of our employees. I’m incredibly proud of this team’s work during this period. Although other companies might have balked at the short-term economics, we prioritized investing for customers and employees during these unprecedented times.

The exit out of Covid this past year was challenging, with labor shortages, supply chain difficulties, inflation, and productivity overhang from growing our fulfillment and transportation networks so substantially during the pandemic, all of which increased our cost to serve. As we head into 2023, we remain in uncertain economic times. Therefore, we’ve determined that we need to take further steps to improve our cost structure so we can keep investing in the customer experience that attracts customers to Amazon and grows our business.

Our plan to improve our cost structure will unfortunately include role reductions. It is painful and rare for us to take this step, and I know how difficult this is on the individuals impacted and their loved ones. Our goal is to make sure every impacted employee is assisted in this transition, so for example, in the U.S., we are providing packages that include a 60-day non-working transitional period with full pay and benefits, plus an additional several weeks of severance depending on length of time with the company, a separation payment, transitional benefits, and external job placement support. I would like to personally thank each and every one of you affected by the planned changes for your contributions to our customers and your broader team.

Role reductions are one of several steps we are taking to lower our cost to serve. We are also increasing local in-stock of the most popular items, making it easier for customers to consolidate shipments for multiple items, and increasing the ways customers can buy the low-priced everyday essentials they need to keep their households running, all with the aim of reducing our network and delivery costs.

And by improving our cost structure, we are also able to continue investing meaningfully in big growth areas such as grocery, Amazon Business, Buy with Prime, and healthcare.

To those who are staying, I know this is a difficult time for you, as well, and it’s important we support one another. We are saying goodbye to people we’ve worked closely with, and there is plenty of hard work ahead as we innovate on behalf of customers. Although I would prefer not to eliminate even a single role, we are making these changes now to keep investing in improving the customer experience, which will strengthen our business for the long term.

As I’ve shared with many of you, I have never been more optimistic about the opportunity in front of us. For over 25 years, we’ve innovated on behalf of customers, and in so many ways, we are just getting started. Lowering our cost to serve will be a core priority for us in the years ahead to fund even more innovation. It’s not just about doing more with less, but rethinking how we serve our customers, how we organize internally, and what new areas of innovation we invest in. Every team has a role to play in finding ways to reduce costs while improving selection, pricing, and delivery speeds. I am confident that Amazonians will bring their ownership, innovation, and bias for action to this challenge, unlocking even more value for customers.

Around the Tubes

It’s a new week and we’re heading towards the end of the year. As we begin to think about the best of 2022, what sticks out to you? Sound off in the comments! While you think about that, here’s some news from around the web.

How to Love Comics – DC Universe: Lazarus Planet Reading Order Guide – For those interested in the event, here’s your guide!

ICv2 – Amazon Ending Digital Magazine Subscriptions, Single-Issue Sales – Some pretty big changes.

The Mary Sue – Of Course ‘The Boys’ Had the Best Response to Donald Trump’s Ridiculous NFT Scheme – Well played.

Homelander

Warhammer – starring Henry Cavill, it’s official

Warhammer 40k Amazon

Yesterday, news broke that Henry Cavill and Amazon were working together to bring Games Workshop‘s Warhammer universe to film and television. Now, it’s official, as Games Workshop has announced the project. Working with Amazon Studios, the Warhammer 40,000 universe will come to screens big and small. Henry Cavill will be the Executive Producer and will star as well.

The deal with Amazon Studios is for rights to the universe for film and “more”. You can discover more about Games Workshop’s world of Warhammer 40,000 at our sister site Board Game Today.

Below is the official announcement as well as Cavill’s own announcement.

Amazon Studios today announced that it has secured global rights to Warhammer  40,000, based on the immensely popular intellectual property from Games Workshop (GAW) that has given rise to an immersive global hobby – Warhammer. The agreement encompasses rights to the universe across series, film, and more, and will sit alongside GAW’s activities as they continue to make the best miniatures in the world. This is the first deal of its kind for Amazon Studios for IP of this scale, and it allows the company to utilize the title across its entertainment businesses. Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, Mission: Impossible – Fallout) is set to star in and executive produce the Warhammer 40,000 franchise across all Amazon Studios productions.

Since launching nearly 40 years ago, the Warhammer universe has been constantly expanding through GAW’s miniatures, sourcebooks, tabletop games, animations, novels, a wealth of licensed material, and video games. 

Warhammer 40,000 is set in the far future, where humanity stands at the edge of what might be its brightest future, or its darkest age. The threats to humankind’s empire are many — traitors driven by the fires of ambition, alien empires sworn to reclaim the stars, and the corruption of reality by malevolent gods. 

Warhammer 40,000 has captured the imagination of fans of all ages, from all walks of life, and all over the world,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon and MGM Studios. “We are excited to work with Henry, Vertigo Entertainment, and Games Workshop across our Amazon entertainment businesses on this brilliant, immersive franchise for our global customers to experience for years to come.”

“I have loved Warhammer since I was a boy, making this moment truly special for me. The opportunity to shepherd this cinematic universe from its inception is quite the honour and the responsibility,” said Henry Cavill. “I couldn’t be more grateful for all the hard work put in by Vertigo, Amazon and Games Workshop to make this happen. One step closer to making a nigh-on lifelong dream come true.” 

Henry Cavill at Games Workshop

“It’s great news and we’re absolutely thrilled; we’re working with a fantastic triumvirate in Henry, Vertigo, and Amazon. Henry’s well-known love of Warhammer 40,000—and his passion as a world-builder and storyteller—will serve us all well in the coming years. Finally, Warhammer will make it to the screen as the fans have hoped, and as they deserve. Exciting times!” said Andy Smillie, creative director of GAW. 

Vertigo Entertainment’s Roy Lee and Natalie Viscuso (Barbarian, The Lego franchisethe It films, The Departed) partnered with Henry Cavill early on to secure the coveted IP and deliver it to Amazon Studios. Vertigo will executive produce with Cavill and GAW’s Andy Smillie and Max Bottrill alongside Amazon Studios. 

Henry Cavill’s numerous projects on the horizon include Matthew Vaughn’s globe-trotting spy thriller Argylle, the highly anticipated reboot of Highlander, Guy Ritchie’s The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, and Season Three of The Witcher. He is represented by WME. 

Cavill took to Instagram for his own announcement about the project:

For 30 years I have dreamt of seeing a Warhammer universe in live action. Now, after 22 years of experience in this industry, I finally feel that I have the skill set and experience to guide a Warhammer Cinematic Universe into life. Partnering with Natalie Viscuso at Vertigo has been a blessing beyond words, without her we might not have found the perfect home at Amazon. And having a home like Amazon will give us the freedom to be true to the massive scope of Warhammer. To all of you Warhammer fans out there, I promise to respect this IP that we love. I promise to bring you something familiar. And I endeavour to bring you something fantastic that is, as of yet, unseen.

Our first steps are to find our Filmmaker/Creator/Writer. Watch this space, my friends.

For The Emperor!

#Warhammer

Eight Billion Genies Grants Amazon’s Wishes

A featured adaptation of the comic Eight Billion Genies is in the works. Amazon got their wish, gaining the rights to the comic by Charles Soule and Ryan Browne.

Browne and Soule will be executive procuders though no writer or filmmaker are attached yet.

The comic is an eight-issue limited series that debuted in May from publisher Image Comics.

Eight Billion Genies is about a world where every single person gets a genie and one wish. It follows the transformation of the world focused on a bar and those inside when the event happened.

The second issue was released this week after a delay.

You can read our review of the first and second issues.

Eight Billion Genies #1

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here! What geeky things are you all doing? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for the weekday to end and the weekend to begin, here’s some comic news and a review from around the web.

Forbes – Vault Comics Secures Big Name Financing Including Jeff Ubben, UTA And Metallica – Interesting.

Engadget – Amazon completes its $8.45 billion takeover of MGM – How long before a James Bond television show? Will they leverage their publishing tools too?

Review

AIPT – Reign of X Vol. 10

Reign of X Vol. 10

ComiXology’s Amazon Transition Gets Delayed to 2022

ComiXology Logo

In September, comiXology announced some big changes coming to the digital comic platform. Not only would there be an upgraded and updated comiXology app, but the comiXology website would be folded into Amazon‘s delivering a different comic buying experience more integrated with the Amazon shopping platform. Instead of a separate storefront, comiXology would now just be Amazon’s Kindle comic offering reworked and updated.

While no date of transition was given at the time, we know that it was to take place this November with a delay announced for insiders.

Now, the delay will be even further heading into 2022. Comixology Co-founder and CEO and GM Digital Comics for Amazon David Steinberger sent a new update saying their holding the launch until next year based on community feedback.

In September, I sent an email outlining some exciting changes coming to comiXology this fall. Well, it’s nearly winter, so it’s time for me to provide an update on progress. While we remain really excited about unveiling the updates, we wanted to take just a little extra time to incorporate feedback we received from our community. With this goal in mind, we decided to hold launch until early next year.

In the meantime, you can continue to use the existing app and comiXology site as usual. We’ve also been continuing to improve the Amazon comics store, with better search results and many other improvements. Closer to the launch date, we will provide more details to make sure you are prepared for the new app and Amazon shopping experience.

If you’re interested, check out this week’s new releases.

If you have questions I didn’t cover in this email, visit our FAQ or join our conversation on Twitter.

Thanks for sharing the love of comics and manga!

So, are you excited with comiXology being better integrated with Amazon? Do you see it helping or hurting comic sales? Sound off in the comments below!

ComiXology Titles Are Now Available on the Kindle App

As comiXology and Amazon become further entwined and merged, the digital comic platform announced today that there’s a new way to read comics purchased on comiXology!

A new feature has been released that comiXology users now have the option to view and read their purchased comiXology books on both the comiXology and Kindle apps. Users can switch back and forth at any time!

The news comes a few weeks after comiXology co-founder and CEO David Steinberger announced the company would be going through a major update including a new shop for digital comics, graphic novels, and manga directly from Amazon.

Check out comiXology’s video about this new feature.

ComiXology Rolls Out Changes and Updates this Fall

It’s been a long time coming, but comiXology has announced some changes and updates coming to the app and store this Fall. The digital comics platform was purchased by Amazon in 2014 and it was only a matter of time before greater integration between Amazon’s platform and comiXology. Some of that has happened already with a single sign on and the ability to purchase comics on Kindle and read them on comiXology but there’s been some other upgrades missing.

In an email to comiXology users today, co-founder and CEO of comiXology David Steinberger announced new updates coming soon to the app and platform.

Here are some of the changes users can expect:

  • Upgraded comiXology app will feature flexible filtering and sorting, and some fun book navigation features.
  • A revamped digital comics shopping experience on Amazon where you’ll be able to browse, buy, and borrow books to read on either the comiXology or Kindle app. You can visit the new shopping experience today as we continue to bring new features online. ComiXology.com will redirect to this new experience when they launch.
  • Faster, more reliable downloads on Android and iOS devices. Plus read-while-downloading is new for Android customers.
  • Kindle Unlimited and Prime members will be able to borrow from a large library of graphic novels and manga on the comiXology app, in select countries. 
  • ComiXology purchases will be readable on Kindle apps and devices. Soon, you’ll also be able to read purchases from comiXology on the Kindle app, giving more flexibility to decide where and how you read your books.

The biggest notable change is the old comiXology website going away and redirecting to Amazon’s website. The interface is quite different and it’ll be interesting to see what type of curation it’ll bring as the comiXology website does a solid job of highlighting different series and reading experiences. There’s sure to be speculation and doomsayers focusing in on this major change, and it’s a big one. But, Amazon still potentially brings strength to the comic industry through comiXology with the best data set to leverage and “find” new readers. Whether this is the future we’ll see remains to be seen but, these steps indicate a tighter integration that has been years in the making.

Amazon nabs MGM for $8.45 Billion

Amazon logo

The rumors have become true as Amazon has bought MGM for $8.45 billion. The deal delivers a massive film and TV library to the digital platform and studio. MGM features a film catalog of 4,000 films and 17,000 television shows.

Amazon revealed in April that 175 Prime members have viewed movies and TV shows on the platform in the past year. In comparison, Netflix has 207 million global subscribers and Disney+ has 103 million subscribers.

To put the purchase in further perspective, Amazon spent $11 billion on video and music content for Prime Video and Amazon Music last year and $7.8 billion the year before. It spent $13.7 billion to acquire Whole Foods. Amazon is spending $465 million on one season of their Lord of the Rings series and has signed a deal with the NFL to broadcast Thursday Night Football starting in 2022.

The deal has to still pass regulatory approval.

Amazon Reportedly Has Made a $9 Billion Offer for MGM

Amazon logo

Earlier today it was announced that AT&T and Discovery have entered into a deal concerning WarnerMedia. Discovery will now manage the entertainment division in a new partnership with AT&T. Now, word has come that Amazon is “weeks into negotiations” in a deal to acquire MGM. The rumored price tag is about $9 billion. Prices have ranged between $7 billion and $10 billion. It’s been a rumor for quite some time that MGM was thinking about, our up, for sale, but this puts that in a whole other league.

The deal is reportedly being worked on by Mike Hopkins, senior VP of Amazon Studios and Prime Video. Hopkins is dealing directly with MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich.

MGM has a “deep” library with 4,000 films including James Bond, Rocky, Creed, RoboCop, The Hobbit, and Pink Panther. That’s just the franchises. There are also classics like Silence of the Lambs and The Magnificent Seven. There are also 17,000 episodes of series like the various Stargate series. Fargo, The Handmaid’s Tale, Teen Wolf, In the Heat of the Night, and more. Unscripted shows include The Voice, Survivor, Shark Tank, The Real Housewives, and The Hills.

In 2020, Amazon spent $11 billion on TV shows, moves, and music for Prime services. That’s an increase of 40% from the previous year.

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