5 Shows Competing to Become Amazon Original Series

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Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has posted the pilot episodes of five potential original series to air on its Prime Instant Video streaming service for viewers to comment on. Amazon Prime members can watch the pilots for free and the company will then choose which series will get full seasons based on viewer feedback.

Amazon is trying to copy Netflix’s (NASDAQ:NFLX) ultra-successful venture into original programming, but it is going about it with a bit more caution. By collecting user feedback on pilot episodes, Amazon is getting a better idea if it should put money into producing a full season of a particular show. Netflix itself has eschewed the traditional formula of creating a pilot episode for its original shows, something that those in the television industry say is creatively freeing and has allowed Netflix to create better content than traditional television networks.

Kevin Spacey, the star of Netflix’s Emmy-winning political drama House of Cards, has been vocal in his belief that Netflix’s strategy to abandon the pilot concept is creatively beneficial. “The obligation of a pilot — from the writing perspective — is that you have to spend about 45 minutes establishing all the characters, create arbitrary cliffhangers and generally prove that what you are setting out to do will work,” Spacey said at the Edinburgh Television Festival. “Netflix was the only network that said, ‘We believe in you. We’ve run our data and it tells us that our audience would watch this series. We don’t need you to do a pilot.’”

Amazon is playing it safe by sticking with the traditional pilot formula and getting viewer opinions before dumping money into producing a full season of any of these five shows.

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