Online video providers from Netflix to Amazon to Yahoo are scurrying to create original content that will poach viewers away from their rivals. But an analyst with The Diffusion Group says that pouring money into scripted entertainment is a strategy that is destined to fail.
Online retail giant and SVOD provider Amazon is dipping a toe in the traditional movie-release waters, announcing an original-movies program that will see its movies available via Prime Instant Video within four to eight weeks after their release on the big screen.
For the last decade, channels like Bravo, A&E and TLC built powerful presences in the earnings reports of their corporate parents through inexpensively produced reality shows. Finding a bunch of unpolished New Jersey kids just being their obnoxious selves could render a ratings gold mine.
Finally, our long national nightmare may be over: Scripted, original TV series are a hot property in Hollywood again, displacing the decade-long popularity of reality shows like Jersey Shore and the seemingly bottomless pool of Real Housewives. It's largely thanks to the challenge laid at their feet by Netflix and Amazon with original content drives that stole away millions of viewers in the past couple years. But can traditional TV handle the cost of original series?
Despite the possibility of hitting a subscriber wall in the United States, Netflix is putting its focus on creating quality content to attract and retain viewers--both at home and abroad, according to Ted Sarandos, content chief for the SVOD provider. And that means premiering original content, either brand new series or movies, or a new season, every two and a half weeks on average--eventually.
The top three SVOD services, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, will collectively spend $6.8 billion to acquire already produced, non-original, "off-network" programming next year. That is 31 percent more than the $5.2 million they'll spend in 2014.
Executives of online retail giant and SVOD provider Amazon, in the wake of a third quarter in which it posted record losses, were more subdued on the company's earnings conference call when it came to talking about their online streaming plans.
Online video players speaking at MIPCOM in Cannes this week made some tongue-in-cheek comments to TV industry executives. But there was a challenge within the statements by Netflix, Maker Studios, Sohu and others. The online video industry, they were saying, is no longer just an upstart disrupter. It's the king of the hill.
This week was a busy one for original content at the Big Two, with Amazon greenlighting two pilots for full seasons from its third slate of candidates, and Netflix leaping into landmark original movie deals with comedian Adam Sandler and The Weinstein Company.
Multichannel network and media management firm BroadbandTV announced it is partnering with FremantleMedia's digital content studio, TinyRiot!, to produce original content as part of a multiyear deal. The two companies will co-produce five pilot shows with an eye toward developing ongoing series.