|Virgin Entertainment Group and Amazon.com Announce Strategic Alliance; Virgin Megastore's U.S. and Japan Web Sites to Be Powered by Amazon.com's E-commerce Platform|
|LOS ANGELES & SEATTLE, Jun 24, 2002 -- Virgin Entertainment
Group, North America, and Amazon.com (Nasdaq:AMZN) (www.amazon.com) today
announced an agreement to relaunch www.virginmega.com as a cobranded Web site
powered by Amazon.com's e-commerce platform.
Similarly, Virgin Entertainment Group, Japan, will be launching a Web site later this year that will be powered by Amazon.co.jp.
Launching today, Virginmega.com powered by Amazon.com features the vast selection of music, videos, DVDs, software and books available at Amazon.com. Similarly, the Japan Web site will offer a vast selection of music, videos, DVDs, software, video games and books available at Amazon.co.jp. Amazon.com's U.S. and Japan Web sites will continue to operate independently.
Amazon.com will be the seller of record, providing inventory, fulfillment, site content and customer service for the cobranded sites. The new sites will continue to offer unique content, including daily entertainment news, gossip, exclusive interviews, reviews and views, editorial coverage, contests, streamed music, and store location information about in-store artist appearances and in-store events.
"The aim is to replicate the Virgin Megastore browsing experience online," Richard Branson, CEO and founder, Virgin Entertainment Group, said. "We will continue to provide music and entertainment consumers with the ultimate choice and convenience in purchasing. This allows us to cater not only to the casual buyer to whom convenience is important, but also to the most discerning and knowledgeable music and entertainment fans."
"Virgin embraces the latest developments in new technology and we are confident that by teaming with Amazon.com we will champion all means of delivering the broadest and deepest range of music, movies, books and games to our customers," Glen Ward, CEO, Virgin Entertainment Group, North America, said. "As with all great strategic alliances, the joint business will be greater than the sum of the parts."
"Amazon.com has worked hard to provide its customers with the best possible shopping experience with the widest selection, best prices and unbeatable convenience, and we're incredibly pleased to power and manage Virginmega.com and Virgin Entertainment Group, Japan's Web site," said Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon.com. "Virgin's Megastores are leaders in the physical world of music and entertainment, and they share our passion for providing music, movie and book fans with a great customer experience."
Under the agreement, customers of the cobranded site will benefit from access to Amazon.com's editorial and customer reviews, personalization features and recommendations, 1-Click(R) ordering, features like Look Inside the Book, sound clips, movie trailers, and other key site features. Both companies will work together to bring about additional customer benefits in the future, which may include extending the alliance to more international sites.
The agreement to power Virgin Megastore Web sites by Amazon.com and Amazon.co.jp comes on the heels of other alliances Amazon.com has formed with best-of-breed brands like Toysrus.com, demonstrating the flexibility of Amazon.com's e-commerce platform to customize and meet the needs of other leading companies. As the world's leading multichannel music and entertainment retailer, Virgin Entertainment Group provides customers with a range of superior entertainment experiences at Virgin Megastores and on Virgin Megastore Online (www.virginmega.com), and are integral parts of a strategy to provide entertainment customers with what they want, how they want it, and when they want it.
The Virgin Entertainment Group, Japan, Web site will launch in time for the holidays. The cobranded site is the first platform services alliance involving the Amazon.co.jp site.
As part of the agreement, Radio Free Virgin, a leading digital radio broadcasting company that is part of the worldwide Virgin family, will be linked to from Virginmega.com powered by Amazon.com shortly after the launch, making it even easier for listeners to shop for and buy albums they are listening to on their desktops.
Additional terms of the multiyear agreement were not disclosed. About Virgin Entertainment GroupThe Virgin Megastores, part of the Virgin Entertainment Group, are "category killer" retailers of a wide range of entertainment content, including music, books, video, software, and related products. With Megastores throughout North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Continental Europe and Japan, Virgin is spot on for music, video, games and other entertainment products. (http://virginmega.com ).
About Amazon.com and Amazon.co.jpAmazon.com, a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, Wash., opened its virtual doors on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection. Amazon.com seeks to be the world's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online. Amazon.com and sellers list millions of unique new and used items in categories such as electronics, computers, kitchen products and housewares, books, music, DVDs, videos, camera and photo items, toys, baby items and baby registry, software, computer and video games, cell phones and services, tools and hardware, travel services, magazine subscriptions and outdoor living items. Through Amazon Marketplace, zShops and Auctions, any business or individual can sell virtually anything to Amazon.com's millions of customers, and with Amazon.com Payments, sellers can accept credit card transactions, avoiding the hassles of offline payments.
Amazon.com operates four international Web sites: www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.de, www.amazon.fr and www.amazon.co.jp. It also operates the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com), the Web's comprehensive and authoritative source of information on more than 300,000 movies and entertainment titles and 1 million cast and crew members dating from the birth of film.
Amazon.co.jp (www.amazon.co.jp) opened its virtual doors in November 2000, and today offers millions of Japanese and foreign language titles. Amazon.co.jp received the highest five-star ranking by market research firm Gomez Japan K.K. in a recent review of online bookstores, which cited Amazon.co.jp's ease of use, site design, product selection, content and payment options. Through Amazon Anywhere(TM), Amazon's leading mobile commerce platform, Amazon.co.jp is also accessible via imode and EZWeb wireless devices at http://amazon.co.jp. Amazon.co.jp has marketing alliances with several major Japanese Internet portals, including Yahoo! Japan (www.yahoo.co.jp), BIGLOBE (www.biglobe.ne.jp), Excite Japan (www.excite.co.jp), goo Japan (www.goo.ne.jp), livedoor (www.livedoor.com), Lycos Japan (www.lycos.co.jp) and MSN Japan (www.msn.co.jp).
This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to potential future losses, significant amount of indebtedness, competition, strategic alliances and business combinations, seasonality, potential fluctuations in operating results and rate of growth, foreign currency exchange rates, management of potential growth, system interruption, international expansion, consumer trends, fulfillment center optimization, inventory, limited operating history, government regulation and taxation, fraud and Amazon.com Payments, and new business areas. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com's financial results is included in Amazon.com's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2001 and all subsequent filings.