Amazon’s new London development house points to global content roll-out

News Amazon is forming a London multi-platform digital development centre out of two recently-acquired companies suggests it is preparing to offer its digital content line-up outside the U.S..

The outfit announced it will locate “teams of software development engineers, user-interface experts and graphic designers” on the eighth floor of a building at Glasshouse Yard, on the edges of Silicon Roundabout.

Though the press release has been jumped upon by the London mayor’s office, which is busy trying to promote east London as a tech hub, the move essentially pools existing development staff from Amazon’s earlier acquisitions of Lovefilm and of internet-TV app developer Pushbutton.

Amazon says (via release): “The design and development teams from Pushbutton and Lovefilm … will come together to work on new digital media projects that will benefit Amazon customers all over the world.”

The stated purpose: “the creation of interactive digital services for TVs, game consoles, smartphones and PCs; the development of the digital media experience on Amazon websites around the world; and the building of services and APIs that power that digital media experience”.

Pushbutton had built the Playstation 3, Sony Internet TV and Samsung Smart TV apps for Lovefilm before it was brought in-house by Amazon in July 2011, six months after Amazon acquired the DVD, movie and TV streaming service Lovefilm itself.

Pushbutton, whose clients had included ITV, National Geographic, Turner, Sky and Disney, has since stopped developing for non-Amazon clients.

Asked for further detail, an Amazon spokesperson tells paidContent:

“All Pushbutton employees are now employees of the Amazon Development Centre. The design and development teams from Lovefilm are moving to the Development Centre whilst all other functions will remain within the current head office in west London.

“Whilst we do not break out employee numbers by individual site, I can confirm that there will be hundreds of employees.

“Our focus at this time is on getting the existing team into the building but we are a growing company and we may well look to recruit in the future.”

But Pushbutton told paidContent there are “lots of new jobs”, pointing to this job openings page.

The centre will be helmed by Paula Byrne, formerly Pushbutton’s CEO, as managing director. The office is around the corner from Pushbutton’s existing offices in Clerkenwell.

The fact that Pushbutton has stopped developing for clients other than Amazon/Lovefilm and the fact that the new centre will develop apps for use “around the world” would suggest Amazon will, finally, offer its full digital content line-up on devices globally.

Confirmation and timescale of that was not given by Amazon, whose global roll-outs for Kindle, MP3 and other products have traditionally been slow. Currently, Amazon-branded movies and TV streaming rentals are available largely only in the U.S., though Lovefilm, of course, already operates in some European countries.

Whether Amazon picks the Lovefilm brand or its own brand going forward, there is emerging an exciting opportunity to deliver movie, TV and other content to the proliferating array of devices around Europe and elsewhere. With its latest move, Amazon is shoring up its ability to develop in-house the apps through which it will do so.