As Amazon points out in the company’s SEC filing about McGrath’s appointment, she has been the president of Astronauts Wanted: No Experience Necessary, a multimedia joint venture between McGrath and Sony Music Entertainment, since June 2013. Amazon Prime’s streaming video business is fiercely competing with Netflix’s award-winning content making machine that includes “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards.” McGrath’s Astronauts Wanted produces off-beat online video content with a focus on millenials. (Just visit Astronauts Wanted’s website and you might think you wandered upon the Urban Outfitters site.) But the addition of McGrath doesn’t necessarily signal a potential acquisition of a studio or production company, said RJ Hottovy, analyst with Morningstar. “I think it does reinforce Amazon’s commitment to content,” he said. Hottovy added that the announcement comes on the heels of the conference call during which CFO Tom Szkutak mentioned that original content will represent $100 million in costs during the third quarter. Hottovy said the $100 million investment is relatively small for a company with $8 billion in cash on its balance sheet, but its the most the company has spent on original content in a quarter that he can recall. Amazon already has a selection of lesser-known original shows, including “Alpha House,” a comedy starring John Goodman. McGrath will bring her expertise of entertainment to a board that is heavy with tech and finance backgrounds.
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