Like rival movie provider Netflix Inc, Amazon is developing its own content to supplement movies and TV shows from Hollywood’s back catalog. Amazon pays an estimated $1 billion a year to stream programming from others over its Prime Instant Video service.
Since late 2010, the company’s Hollywood studio, Amazon Studios, has let aspiring screenwriters and film makers upload thousands of scripts to its website.
It has an exclusive, 45-day option to buy movie scripts for $200,000 and TV series for $55,000. It can also pay $10,000 to extend options for 18 months.
Instead of green-lighting a feature-length film or TV pilot, Amazon first helps develop the scripts it options into trial videos. It posts these online to solicit reviews and feedback from its millions of customers. Writers use the feedback to adjust scripts, hoping to boost the chances of creating a hit when Amazon spends millions of dollars turning projects into full movies or TV shows.
Over the years, a lot of shows that have developed quite a following have been shut down — or threatened with shutting down — by network executives looking at different metrics. Two of the most famous are science-fiction shows, specifically Firefly and the original Star Trek.
With Amazon turning to crowdsourcing, they might be able to avoid killing a series that people enjoy prematurely. At least that’s what Amazon seems to be hoping for.
Will we see new sci-fi series and/or movies from this? I would expect so, because they both tend to be popular genres, and there’s plenty of untapped imagination out there if the self-published e-books I’ve read are any indication.
Keep an eye on Amazon… this could be a Godsend for geeks.