Amazon Studios vs Netflix: Building Exclusive Content for Instant Video and Kindle Fire

Remember when I was doubtful that Amazon would feel like it was worth taking on Netflix over the video streaming market, no matter how important video was to the Kindle Fire?  They still aren’t quite ready for head to head comparisons, but Amazon has taken another page out of Netflix’s book and will be developing their own content to lure in subscribers.  Amazon Studios, as it is known, will basically be a step short of KDP for TV series.

Every month, Amazon will be looking at user-submitted content and choosing one series to option.  Right now this is limited to Comedy and Children’s programming, but presumably a success story to work with would push them into other areas.  Amazon Studios will option one series of original programming every month and begin testing it with audiences to determine whether it is worth putting into full production.  Once established, the hope is clearly that this will further increase the incentive for Amazon customers to hold onto both an Amazon Prime membership and a Kindle Fire.

Those wishing to take part in the competition can submit their proposal through the Amazon Studios site.  To be considered, your submission must have a five page description and a pilot script that is 22 minutes long in the case of comedy shows or 11 minutes long if you have a kid’s show.  Within 45 days of the submission, you will be informed of whether or not Amazon has chosen to option your show.  If selected, you will get $10,000 and your show will be tested for viability.

Anybody who ends up being picked up for a full production run will have further income.  The creator will get a one-time $55,000 payment along with up to 5% of the various merchandising profits.  There are other, undisclosed royalties involved as well that will presumably vary based on the series being selected and the level of involvement that the creator has in it.

Should you not be selected, you will be able to choose between pulling your submission from the site or leaving it up to get community feedback.  While this is not necessarily going to be productive in many cases, there should be the potential for learning as you go and figuring out where a non-optioned script went wrong.

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Amazon Studios is not likely to turn into the next big thing in television programming right away.  It will allow aspiring creators and writers to showcase their talent in a way that is often hard to find through other means.  If nothing else, this should result in some excellent participation.

The program is being led by experienced management and Amazon has made clear through their actions exactly how hard they want to push the Kindle Fire to do well.  Since this will essentially create content that is difficult to view on almost any other tablet offering, it could be an important marketing tool.  Assuming they have found a show to work with by then, look for Amazon Studios productions to play a big part in the marketing of the Kindle Fire 2!

Amazon on Netflix: No Monthly Instant Video Service Planned For Immediate Future

Since just before the official announcement of the Kindle Fire, and clearly in preparation for the anticipated release, Amazon has been making efforts to beef up their Amazon Instant Video selection.  Many of these new acquisitions have even been made part of the Prime Instant Videos library, which allows customers subscribing annually to the Amazon Prime service to stream available content to any compatible device whenever they want with no additional purchase necessary.  More than anything, this is the reason that new Kindle Fire owners find themselves enjoying a month of free Amazon Prime membership.  It works well to get potential subscribers hooked.  More and more, however, people have been viewing the ever-expanding collection of titles as a direct assault on Netflix.

As the most popular video streaming service on the internet today, Netflix caters to over 24 million subscribers and accounted for about a third of all internet bandwidth being used as of last fall.  They have had some issues recently after mishandling the publicizing of rate hikes necessitated by expiring streaming rights deals as well as a poorly thought out attempt to split the company into two separate entities specializing in only one aspect of the physical media and digital video combination that customers have come to expect, but subscriptions have since rebounded and there is little sign that they are in immediate danger.

When Netflix CEO Reed Hastings mentioned in a letter to shareholders that he is expecting Amazon to start breaking the Instant Video service away from Amazon Prime in favor of a monthly model more analogous to what Netflix is known for, it was finally enough to elicit comment from Amazon.  Brad Beale, the Head of Video Acquisition for Amazon, made clear in a recent interview that it is not the intent of the company to change the way they’re handling things in the near future.  He seems to have avoided implying that this was something that would never happen, but at least for the moment Netflix is safe. Learn how to open BIN file.

The logic behind the decision is sound.  Amazon Prime is already less expensive than even the cheapest Netflix subscription.  The video content you get with it is not nearly as extensive at this point as what Netflix offers, but nobody claims that it is.  By subscribing to Amazon’s service though, even if your goal is just to take advantage of the Kindle Fire’s integration with Amazon services, customers also get free 2-day shipping on anything Amazon sells.  The video streaming might not be the biggest money maker in the world, but the associated shipping benefit has a tendency to make impulse purchasing far more appealing.  This translates into more regular profits as well as customer loyalty.

Compared to that, it is hard to imagine a huge desire on Amazon’s part to start attacking Netflix on their own terms.  For the moment, at least, video distribution appears to remain a relatively small part of the company.  The Kindle Fire is obviously meant to change that and it does a good job of showing off the content, but the day when physical goods are less important to the company than digital sales has yet to arrive.

Both Amazon Prime and Netflix are available as subscriptions for the customer. You can cancel Amazon Prime and cancel Netflix at any time, with no additional charges.