- Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are teaming up with Amazon on a yet-to-be-named fashion competition series following the announcement that the two are leaving "Project Runway" after 16 seasons, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
- Amazon Fashion will create shoppable experiences for viewers as part of the show. Amazon said it will make fashion accessible to global audiences and give viewers a new take on a reality show.
- Klum and Gunn's departure from "Project Runway" follows the news that Bravo would be bringing the series back after Lantern Entertainment recently acquired The Wenstein Co. following its bankruptcy. "Project Runway" debuted on Bravo, owned by NBCUniversal, in 2004, and then moved to Lifetime, which renewed the show in an agreement with Weinstein in 2016. But the sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinsten led to the namesake company's bankruptcy and voiding of the contract.
Nabbing the co-hosts of the popular long-running fashion reality show should be a win for Amazon, which is hoping to better marry its video streaming and commerce offerings. Merging fashion-related reality TV content with commerce is clearly a priority for Amazon, which launched the QVC-like "Style Code Live" in 2016 but then canceled it a year later.
The new partnership with the ex-"Project Runway" hosts suggests Amazon is looking to invest in big names to make a splash in this space. It's also looking to ramp up its role in fashion more broadly and continues to lean on technology such as Amazon Echo Look to help it connect with fashion consumers.
While few details about the new show or shoppable experiences have been released yet, giving consumers the ability to shop while they watch could resonate with style-focused audiences. Amazon could also form branded partnerships within the series to offer consumers unique, interactive experiences.
Merging content and commerce is a growing trend that more brands are eyeing to create awareness, boost sales and offer customer service, including on social media platforms, where consumers are spending more and more of their time. The trend is happening as brands look beyond creating content for content's sake and explore ways to drive results from content, according to a report from Gartner L2. Amazon is strongly positioned to deliver content and commerce experience given its legacy e-commerce business and its growth in original programming via Prime Video.
Amazon has been working to increase membership for its Prime subscription service that includes video, music, gaming and other content streaming. The new fashion-centric series with shoppable elements could help Amazon standout in the crowded digital over-the-top streaming video market, which also includes Netflix and Hulu. Amazon's unscripted shows haven't been as strong as efforts by Netflix, including the reboot of "Queer Eye," which recently won an Emmy for best reality show.
Amazon's top shows drew more than 5 million people worldwide to its Prime subscription as of early 2017, and the U.S. audience for all Prime video programming was 26 million, according to a Reuters report citing company documents.