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.

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!