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.
Over-the-top video may have disrupted broadcaster and pay-TV operators' business models, but when it comes to original content, SVOD providers Netflix and Amazon are traveling a well-worn path.
Sony is continuing to invest in its streaming-to-console strategy, with the chief of its gaming unit, Andrew House, confirming to The Wall Street Journal that it still intends to introduce an over-the-top television service in the U.S. by year-end and is in talks with potential content partners now.
TV manufacturer Samsung is hoping to boost 4K TV sales by giving consumers a good deal more content to actually watch in 4K, announcing a new deal with Amazon to deliver its original series and some movies in Ultra High Def (UHD, or 4K), starting in October.
Netflix's international expansion is continuing along its planned growth path, with the subscription video on demand provider announcing its first French-produced series, Marseille, slated to premiere in late 2015. Meantime, Amazon is sticking with its pilot-to-series original content model, debuting five new pilots this week for viewers to rate and review.
Although the use of metadata to help determine the kind of shows audiences want to watch has gotten a lot of attention over the past year or so–particularly with the success of Netflix's House of Cards, a show developed partly from data analysis–Amazon is trying to find the heart that drives the popularity of series as its original-content efforts evolve.