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Amazon nears debut of original TV shows

April 18, 2013 • Business


This undated image provided by Amazon shows actors Joe Dinicol, left, and Sarah Stouffer act out a scene from an episode of “Betas,” one of 14 TV show pilots being made by Amazon.com Inc. Amazon is hoping people will sign up to pay $79 a year for an Amazon Prime membership, a free shipping, online video and e-book borrowing service that will include access to the full series on the Web, connected TVs and mobile devices when they’re completed. (AP Photo/Amazon)

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — There used to be just one way for getting shows on TV. Networks would spend tens of millions of dollars ordering scripts and shooting pilots and then show the fruits of their labor to focus groups. A small group of executives would cherry-pick a few promising shows to put on TV, hoping they’d be a hit with bigger audiences.

The process was unscientific, expensive, and often didn’t work. It’s still how most of the industry operates today.

Online retailing giant Amazon.com Inc. aims to put a twist on the business with its own foray into original TV show production. Starting soon, it will debut 14 of its own TV show pilots on its website, allowing anyone from the U.S., U.K. and Germany watch them for free. The company will ask for viewer input, and hopes the comments and critiques will help decide which shows live or die.

“Why follow the guru method when you don’t have to anymore?” says Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios. “The audience is out there and the audience is interested. We might as well make them a partner in the process.”

The completed series will be available for Login to read more

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