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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Amazon.com, Netflix, Apple, eBay and Google

CHICAGO, Dec. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN), Netflix Inc (Nasdaq:NFLX), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL), eBay Inc. (Nasdaq:EBAY) and Google (Nasdaq:GOOG).

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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Amazon Studios to Produce Comedies

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN) announced that its film production division, Amazon Studios plans to produce pilots for six original comedy series, including shows from the Onion Doonesbury and Daily Show written by David Javerbaum.

These include Alpha House, a series featuring four senators who live together in a rented house in Washington DC; Browsers, a musical comedy show; Dark Minions, an animated series about two slackers; The Onion Presents: The News, Supanatural, and a comedy about three juveniles, Those Who Can't.

Management stated that the pilots will be available on the Amazon Instant Video streaming service where viewers can watch them free of cost. Amazon Studios will take a call on which shows to produce going forward depending on viewer feedback.

Amazon Instant Video is a digital video streaming and download service that lets users rent, buy or subscribe to a range of video content. These pilots will further extend the archive of comedy shows on Amazon's video streaming library, making it a significant force in the video streaming segment and increasing competition for Netflix Inc (Nasdaq:NFLX) and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL).

The completed pilots will be exclusively available to Prime members through Prime Instant Video and Lovefilm in the U.K, for no additional cost. Lovefilm is Amazon's European DVD and streaming movie service, which has almost 2 million subscribers.

We believe that the availability of these shows will bring in more viewers for Amazon Prime and drive sales of Amazon's digital content. In fact, many technology companies are getting into content production, including Hulu and Netflix, in order to reduce their reliance on traditional media companies. Amazon has been working on this for a while now but these shows are the first to go into production. We believe these efforts will bring in millions of dollars and help the company to increase its market share.

Amazon is one of the leading players in an extremely fast-growing market. In the third quarter, Amazon's revenue of $13.81 billion was better than the guidance and in line with consensus expectations. Management attributed the increase in revenue to the growing consumption of digital content across different categories owing to the advantageous value proposition Amazon was able to provide to its customers.

Amazon currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold). Amazon's competitors (whether direct or indirect) are eBay Inc. (Nasdaq:EBAY), which retains a Zacks #2 Rank (Buy) and Google (Nasdaq:GOOG), which carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold).

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