In a move that raises interesting questions about what it means to be a online retailer, ecommerce giant Amazon has moved beyond content sale to content production.
Amazon Studios has launched its first TV show pilots – and is now asking Lovefilm viewers which of the shortlisted 14 should go into full production. The shows, which range from Alpha House, a show about four housesharing senators starring John Goodman, to Wizard of Oz follow-up Postively Ozitively, include eight adult comedies and six children’s shows. They can be viewed on Lovefilm Instant, in the UK, for free, and viewers can leave feedback and ratings as well as commenting via social network discussions.
Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, said: “For the past year the Amazon Studios team has collaborated with some of the best actors and writers in Hollywood to product top-quality shows. We can’t wait to hear which shows customers will want to see in full series production later this year.”
All 14 shows can be viewed here, and are open to non-Lovefilm members.
Our view: In recent years retailers have moved steadily into digital entertainment. But this move by Amazon goes further still. Not only is the retailer hosting and selling content, it is also now making it, and in a way that potentially involves more customer feedback than is generally the way in Hollywood film and TV-making. This is retail as disrupter of traditional entertainment industries – and we look forward to seeing what comes of this venture. Lovefilm describes this move as “helping to define the future of TV”: we shall watch with interest.