Traditional TV networks have faced increased competition in recent years, as both premium and basic cable channels have added more original programs to their schedules. Now companies like Netflix and Amazon Studios have joined the fray, making matters even more complicated.
This week, Amazon in particular has been making waves with news that the company is allowing viewers to vote on the 14 scripted pilots currently streaming on their website. The implication here is that this feedback will play an integral role in helping Amazon decide which pilots will get full season orders. It’s a risky move, but if the latest details are any indication, it just might pay off.
According to Deadline, Amazon Studios has reported that the pilots were the most-watched television programs on its Amazon Instant Video service over the weekend, with 80% of the reviews rating the shows at least 4 out of 5 stars. Amazon wouldn’t share the details on which pilots were most-watched, but did share that it’s able to track which viewers watched the shows all the way through and which pilots received the most attention over social media.
In addition to the viewer-submitted reviews, Amazon will reportedly also factor in feedback from its own online panel and traditional focus groups before giving any shows the green light to become series. Here’s what Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, had to say:
“In just a few days, the pilots have received thousands of helpful and sometimes hilarious reviews. Keep the feedback coming — and help us decide which pilots will be turned into full series.”
So what is the takeaway from this? The announcement that this new original content is among the most-watched programming on Amazon Instant Video isn’t exactly the most encouraging data. After all, the launch of these pilots – which notably includes a TV series based on the hit film Zombieland – was highly publicized, and thus far, Amazon Instant doesn’t have nearly the same subscriber base or widespread brand recognition as Netflix.
The bottom line is that these Amazon pilots likely didn’t have much competition when vying for the most views over its other programming.
That being said, the fact that Amazon is taking viewer feedback into consideration at all is fairly groundbreaking. The company knows that original content is the easiest way to put itself on the map and compete with established TV networks, and it’s commendable (and just plain logical) to elicit feedback from the very same audience it’s hoping to reach.
Still, it’s unlikely that any of these 14 shows will garner the popularity that Netflix is no doubt expecting with its re-launch of Arrested Development next month, though it remains to be seen if any of them will become runaway hits. At this point, we’re not even sure how many – or which – pilots have the best chance at achieving a full season order.
So we’re bringing the discussion to you, Screen Rant readers. Which of the 14 Amazon Studios pilots would you most like to see become a series? Let us know in the comments section below.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for the latest on what Amazon has planned for its original programming.