Amazon Studios chief touts pilot model

Amazon Studios's (Nasdaq: AMZN) strategy of developing pilots, rather than full seasons, of new online TV shows will hopefully give it an edge when it comes to finding new hit shows, Roy Price, the studio's head, told an audience at MIPCOM in Cannes, France, this week.

"The pilots are useful because they allow us to keep our decisions in touch with customers' views, they allow us to be experimental to probably work with a more diverse group in terms of development," he said. That's a different approach than online-video rival Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) has taken when it comes to commissioning original series. Netflix has been buying full seasons or more of shows before they can be seen by subscribers.

"If you go straight to series, unless you're kind of a riverboat gambler, you've probably got a list of about 30 people you're actually comfortable doing that with," Price said. "I think you can open it up a little more if you do some experimenting and pilots, and hopefully we benefit from that."

Amazon Studios is also working to help those who submit scripts turn them into pilots or, at the very least, story boards that audience members can evaluate, Price said. "We would really like to help people visualize their pilots," he said. The company received about 5,000 scripts for its first pilot derby, but only 14 were made, he said. "What if in the future instead of 24 pilots we could have 25,000?" he said. That's exciting and an interesting possible outcome."

Toward that end Amazon Studios introduced a software tool called "Storyteller" to help script contributors easily create storyboards for their show ideas, he said.

For more:
- watch Price's presentation

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