Amazon Aims To Be Movie, TV Mogul
October 11, 2012

Amazon Wants To Be A Player In TV And Movies

Lee Rannals for — Your Universe Online

Amazon is creating movies and TV programming with the data it gathered while climbing to the top of the ranks as the world's largest Internet retailer.

The retailer believes its approach will be able to produce more hit movies than the traditional approach of using movie studio big wigs to make the decisions.

Amazon Studios, the company's Hollywood studio, has allowed screenwriters and filmmakers to upload scripts to its website since 2010.

Amazon offers an exclusive 45-day option to buy movie scripts for $200,000 and TV series for $55,000.

"Hopefully we can avoid big bombs," Roy Price, head of Amazon Studios, told Reuters. "Our notion for what the world needs may be a roller-skating movie or a battleship film, but that could be wrong. We can do tests and find out that, actually, no one cares about this project or that one. If you do that before you spend $200 million on it, that would be good. Good for customers and good for the business."

Amazon took its best nine test movies from 2011 and posted them on Amazon Instant Video, which is a streaming video service offered by the website. The company said that the project went over well and the movies were watched hundreds of thousands of times.

The largest retailer collected data on how long customers watched the test videos and how many watched them all the way through.

Amazon Studios currently has 21 movie projects and nine TV projects in development. The movies will be made for theatrical release and the TV series will be distributed through the company's video streaming service.

Edward Saxon, Oscar-winning producer of "The Silence of the Lambs," told Reuters that he is one of the producers who has signed on to Amazon Studio projects.

The report said that he is developing "Children of Others," which is a movie about a woman who takes her last chance at a fertility clinic and finds her unborn child is part of an alien invasion.

"I am betting my professional energy that we are going to see a good number of Amazon movies, and I hope mine is one of them," he told Reuters. "The movie we're making is going to compete with the big boys."

Another report said that Amazon has made a deal to purchase streaming movies from cable network Epix.

According to Reuters, Amazon agreed to an earn-out provision payable to Epix over time if the number of subscribers to Amazon's Prime Instant Video service rises above a certain number.

Netflix originally had a deal with Epix, but once it expired, Amazon offered up a three-year partnership, adding 3,000 movies to Prime Instant Video.

Amazon's Prime Instant Video service has over 25,000 titles now, but still falls short of its rival Netflix.