Amazon Enlists Top Creative Minds For New Shows (AMZN)

Amazon has enlisted a number of studio executives and talent to create original content for its Amazon Prime video streaming service. Judith McGrath, the former chief executive of MTV Networks, is on board. Also working on Amazon products is Jill Soloway, an Emmy-nominated director and writer working on the new Amazon Prime video series “Transparent,” a dark comedy about a family with a transgender father. Amazon is planning to release four new series in the coming months.

Amazon’s first ventures into television and production four years ago relied on data analysis and an approach that was undeniably tech-oriented. The company used viewer data and feedback received from posting TV pilots to the web to decide which feature films and television series to develop. Unfortunately, many of those original productions did not make much of an impact when released on its Prime Instant Video streaming service. “Alpha House,” a Washington-meets-frat-house comedy, is the only one of those original productions that has received the green light for a second season.

Executives at the company believe that creating original content is the key to drawing more subscribers for the Amazon Prime subscription service. The television industry is currently crowded with players all competing for the same eyeballs and, with such fierce competition, viewers have the choice of many new programming options from traditional broadcast and cable networks as well as insurgents like Netflix and Hulu. Increasing investment in programing appears to be the tactic that many media companies are using to distinguish their services from those of their competitors. Amazon has announced that it plans to spend around $100 million in the third quarter of 2014 developing original content.

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