Morning Media Newsfeed: Amazon Prime Price Hike | McCarthy to Wonkblog | Drone Covers Harlem

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Amazon Prime Gets Price Bump to $99 A Year (VentureBeat)
Nine years after it launched, Amazon Prime is getting an inevitable price increase. Amazon announced Thursday that Prime will now cost $99 per year in the U.S., a slight bump from the previous $79 a year price. WSJ The Seattle retailer said the 25 percent increase was needed to offset rising delivery and content-acquisition costs. The $99 price takes effect for new members on March 20. Existing Prime members will pay the higher rate when they renew. CNNMoney In February, Amazon said it was considering raising the price to $119 a year. Prime members get two-day shipping on a large number of Amazon items at no extra cost, plus the ability to borrow Kindle books and stream movies and television shows. The company also said that it has increased the benefits of the program, now offering free shipping on 19 million items, up from only 1 million nine years ago. It also introduced its video streaming service in 2011 and recently launched Amazon-produced shows. THR The $99 price point may open the door for a tiered pricing system that would allow people to subscribe to Amazon Instant Video or Kindle’s lending library separately. Amazon does not disclose the number of Prime members, but research from Cowen and Co. estimates that there are about 23 million members in the United States, representing a 37 percent increase year-over-year in January. The research also indicates that 95 percent of Prime members visit Amazon monthly and 85 percent make a purchase.

Ryan McCarthy Joins WaPo Financial Staff (The Washington Post / PR Blog)
WaPo announced Thursday that Ryan McCarthy has been hired as an assistant business editor with responsibility for Wonkblog and the new data/storytelling blog. FishbowlDC McCarthy most recently served as deputy editor of Reuters.com and will start March 31. Poynter / MediaWire At Reuters, McCarthy edits Counterparties alongside Felix Salmon. “If you’re building a world-class roster of digital brands, you hire world-class talent to help manage them,” a memo from WaPo business honchos says. In The Capital The data/storytelling blog is a project that remains cloaked in a bit of secrecy, though Jim Tankersley will run that show with a new staff of bright data and reporting minds. McCarthy will no doubt face lofty expectations as his new home sets out to define the post-Ezra Klein era at Wonkblog. Klein recently (sort of) announced his new project at Vox, and The New York Times just announced its own data-driven blog, The Upshot.

Drone Captures Scene at East Harlem Explosion That Flattened Two Buildings (NY Daily News)
After a gas leak caused an explosion in East Harlem Wednesday, Brian Wilson, 45, raced to the scene with his DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter and shot about 30 minutes of video before the battery died. Poynter / MediaWire At the end, police told him they’d prefer he not fly his drone any longer, Wilson said. Until the federal government allows news operations to take their own drone video, ordinary citizens like Wilson get to record birds’ eye-views of news events and pass them on to media outlets. As commercial entities, news organizations face possible sanctions from the FAA if they use drones. The Daily Beast But while some were gazing at Wilson’s drone show in awe, leaders in the drone journalism community watched in horror. Matthew Schroyer, founder of The Professional Society of Drone Journalism, calls the decision to fly over an active rescue mission “irresponsible” and “reckless.” If Wilson had lost control, or the drone malfunctioned, it could have quickly morphed into a weapon of its own. “It’s a four pound object falling from hundreds of feet in the air,” said Schroyer. “It could have killed someone. Definitely.” GigaOM Right now, the Federal Aviation Agency has clear authority to regulate the airspace around airports and the lanes where commercial jets fly. In most other areas, however, the airspace below 400 or 700 feet appears to be fair game because the agency has not passed any formal regulations covering this space. This interpretation of the law got a huge boost last week, when a judge struck down the FAA’s attempt to fine a drone photographer $10,000. The judge rejected the agency’s attempt to invoke its own guidelines, which say that some hobby flying is OK, but that commercial use is not, on the grounds these do not count as law.