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Amazon Eying Original Content?

13 Feb, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Amazon may not be launching a standalone subscription video-on-demand service, but it appears to be considering original scripted content for its Prime streaming service.

A job listing on the ecommerce behemoth’s website finds Amazon seeking a creative executive to help develop 30-minute comedies for online and traditional distribution.

Located in Sherman Oaks, Calif., the position at “People’s Production Company” calls for the candidate to know the comedy genre, possess development and production experience and a willingness to work with writers and artists to develop original series for the web and for traditional distribution channels.

With Netflix’s recent bow of its first original scripted program, “Lilyhammer,” and this fall’s bow of “Orange Is the New Black” (from Lionsgate) and “House of Cards,” the streaming pioneer has upped the proprietary value and status of original content in the SVOD market.

BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield said Amazon’s original content initiative will focus in part on children’s programming, which he believes is “a significantly overweight percentage” of the SVOD business.

Meanwhile, Greenfield noticed bus stops in Manhattan, N.Y., touting “Lilyhammer” print ads, which he said was a first for Netflix.

“While promoting a new series is not unusual for traditional broadcast and cable networks, we have never seen Netflix promote specific content before,” Greenfield wrote in Feb. 13 post.

Indeed, the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly features a review of “Lilyhammer” (rated B-), with reviewer Ken Tucker saying Netflix’s attempt to launch original programming depends if the quality is there.

“Beyond questions of quality, it’ll be interesting to see whether people start watching TV from [Netflix],” Tucker wrote. “Me, I’d watch good TV from any source.”

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