Amazon Studios drops the curtain on open-script submission program
- Amazon Studios ended a program on April 13 that let anyone submit a script and potentially have their idea turned into a movie or TV show if it crowdsourced enough votes, according to Engadget. Now, it will only accept projects for Prime Video the traditional Hollywood way.
- The entertainment division hasn't explained the reasoning behind the shutdown aside from "looking for ways to become even more efficient," per Engadget. Until June 30, it will continue reviewing submissions it's already received.
- Meanwhile, 80% of U.S. Netflix viewing comes from licensed content, compared to 20% from original content, according to a 7Park Data study. Among U.S. subscribers, 42% watch mostly licensed content, which makes up 95% or more of their total viewing, while 18% focus on Netflix original content. For new subscribers, 58% watched licensed programming first. On Hulu, 97% of subscribers’ streaming was on licensed content, and 89% of their first streams were on licensed content.
The shuttering of Amazon Studios' open-call for amateur scripts demonstrates a fundamental shift in its Prime Video strategy, as the company will now focus on creating blockbuster shows with established production companies that typically have large budgets. It appears that Amazon is playing it safe by relying on these major production studios instead of submissions by amateurs. While original content seems to drive new subscribers to video streaming platforms, it doesn't necessarily keep subscribers' attention in the long term, the 7Park Data report shows.
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and other streaming platforms have touted their original programming as a way to lure subscribers and compete against one another. Netflix announced plans to invest up to $8 billion on original content this year and even more over the next few years.
The latest data suggests that libraries full of original shows and movies may not matter as much to consumers as previously thought. While the number of video streaming subscribers continues to grow, consumers report feeling overwhelmed by all the options, and 75% say they can't handle using more than four streaming platforms, PwC found.
The program closure comes after Amazon Studios' founder, Roy Price, was ousted last fall amid sexual harassment allegations. In February, Jennifer Salke, former president of NBC Entertainment, was named as a replacement. Even before Price's exit, CEO Jeff Bezos began pushing the entertainment division to strive for higher-profile productions. Amazon Studios received major hype over its unique crowdsourced submission program that essentially allowed anyone with a creative idea to submit a script and potentially see it on the big screen. However, it appears that the production division greenlit just one screenplay into a full series, "Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street" from preschool teacher David Anaxagoras, according to Variety.