We need to talk about Amazon Studios’ strategy for developing original programming for their SVOD service. Last Friday, the remaining eight episodes of The Man In The High Castle were made binge-capable on Amazon Video. The sci-fi historical drama currently holds a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and the Critics Consensus is it’s “unlike anything else on TV.”
However, Amazon Studios has an alternative, more user-driven approach, to greenlighting original programming. High Castle was released back in January, along with other pilots. It was ultimately picked up in February because of how well Amazon Video subscribers responded to it. The Director of Amazon Studios, Roy Price, is the man in charge of determining which pilots should be picked up. When they release pilots every year, he and his team look at user engagement and the overall value that each pilot offers to the service to help decide which pilots warrant a series launch. It was a no-brainer for High Castle, since it was “the most-watched since the original series development program began.”
When a consumer is shopping around for a new SVOD service, learning that a service considers user engagement when greenlighting it’s original programming would certainly give them good reason to read more. On the other hand, the word of mouth for Orange Is The New Black and other stand-out Netflix series’ is likely very effective in drawing in potential customers. We’ll just have to see how effective Amazon Video’s strategy is when they release their next group of pilots early next year.