Amazon to crowdsource original TV shows

Amazon is to turning to crowdsourcing to produce a raft of comedy and children’s TV shows for its online video streaming service as it steps up efforts to produce its own content.


The initiative will be produced through Amazon’s content division, Amazon Studios and asks writers, producers and directors to submit proposals for original programming.

The best ideas will be distributed through Amazon Instant video, the retailer’s competitor service to the likes of Netflix and Hulu.

Amazon will invest $10,000 (£6,181) in one new idea a month and will pay $55,000 (£34,000) plus up to 5% in royalties to any proposals it chooses to develop into a full-budget series.

It is part of wider strategy by the company, which saw net sales rise 34% year-on-year to $3.18bn (£1.9bn) for the first three months of the year, to grow its content offering as it looks to rely less on its e-commerce business model for future revenue growth.

Last month it acquired the rights to publish the backlist of Ian Fleming’s James Bond in print and e-book form in North America.

In February the retailer signed a deal with Viacom to give its Amazon Prime subscribers access to shows from channels including MTV, Comedy Central, BET, VH1, Spike and Nickelodeon.

Since Amazon Studios launched in 2010 the company claims its has viewed more than 700 test movies and 7,000 scripts. It adds that there are 15 movie projects currently under development through deals brokered via the platform.

The move it is likely to put the internet business in competition with video services Netflix and Hulu, which have both invested in developing original TV shows in recent months.