周三，亚马逊宣布有意开发原创喜剧和儿童节目，并由其在线视频流媒体服务“亚马逊即时视频”（Amazon Instant Video）发行。亚马逊电影网站“亚马逊工作室”（Amazon Studios）总监罗伊•普莱斯在一份新闻发布稿中表示：“亚马逊工作室希望发掘优秀创作人才，推出观众喜闻乐见的节目。在开发电影的过程中，我们听说内容创作者们对原创的系列喜剧和儿童节目很感兴趣。我们很高兴能为剧作者、动漫人士和导演带来这一新机会，使他们能开发原创系列节目。”
《财富》杂志（Fortune）今年3月曾报道过，亚马逊在电视领域这一试水将由乔•路易斯领衔。他是好莱坞资深人士，曾任20世纪福克斯公司（20th Century Fox）制作总监，美国喜剧中心频道（Comedy Central）开发经理，以及云电视网络Bark Industries的首席执行官。在喜剧中心频道时，他负责Tosh.0的制作。这是一部由喜剧明星丹尼尔•托什主持的系列节目，它对等科技文化话题进行品评，每周还推出一个人气视频单元。《财富》杂志通过LinkedIn上的一个帖子发现了对路易斯的这一任命，但该帖随后被删掉了。
For months, the technology world has wondered when -- not if -- Amazon would get into original TV programing by soliciting scripts and beefing up its nascent in-house staff. Now, it's official: Amazon (AMZN) will produce original television content.
On Wednesday, the company announced its intentions to develop original comedy and children shows that will be distributed by way of its online streaming service, Amazon Instant Video. "Amazon Studios wants to discover great talent and produce programming that audiences will love," Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, said in a release. "In the course of developing movies, we've heard a lot of interest from content creators who want to develop original series in the comedy and children's genres. We are excited to bring writers, animators and directors this new opportunity to develop original series."
Amazon Studios will solicit original scripts, option one new project a month, and test that project with an audience. If the project is optioned, the creator will receive $10,000. If the project is turned into a full original series, the creator will $55,000 and up to 5% in royalties. As studio head Roy Price told AllThingsD, the company aims to make these original series have the same quality as "real" TV shows, with production budgets to match.
As Fortune reported in March, Amazon's TV push will be led by Joe Lewis, a Hollywood veteran whose previous experience includes stints as Director of Production at 20th Century Fox (NWS), Manager of Development at Comedy Central, and CEO of the cloud-based TV network Bark Industries. At Comedy Central, he was an executive in charge of the production of Tosh.0, a series hosted by comedian Daniel Tosh that melds viral web videos with popular culture commentary. Fortune discovered Lewis' hiring through a LinkedIn posting, which was later taken down.
"I think there's a logic to it," Gartner analyst Ray Valdes told Fortune recently of the effort. Valdes pointed to Google (GOOG) as one example of a company which is also focusing its efforts on new original content. Streaming service Hulu, meanwhile, plans to spend $500 million on TV and movie programming this year to round out its offerings of traditional broadcast and cable programming. And Netflix launched its first original series, Lilyhammer, last February.
Original content of this type could prove to become an important driver of Amazon's Prime service. Launched in 2005, Prime aimed to get customers to spend more. For $79 a year, members got free two-day delivery on an unlimited number of items. Amazon has sweetened its offerings from there adding, among many other features, an unlimited movie and TV streaming service similar to Netflix. The service is also intended to help sell more Kindle tablets. Original TV could bolster the entire offer -- if shows take off.
Amazon Studios which launched in November of 2010, has received more than 700 test movies and 7,000 scripts to date. The company also has 15 movies in development.