Have you ever looked at the new television slate for a season and wished you were the one sitting in the executive’s chair, making the decision on what shows to pick up because you just know you’d push through much more quality stuff that what actually makes it on-air? Well, now you can put your money where your mouth is, thanks to Amazon.
Everyone’s a critic, literally, with thousands of Twitter and Tumblr accounts created by fans to praise or grumble about what they’re watching. But in a rare move, Amazon is allowing its audience to decide whether a pilot is strong or interesting enough to warrant production of a full season. They’re starting the consumer voting process with Zombieland, a series based on and from the team behind the film of the same name, but they plan to use the same model for all of the fourteen original pilots they ordered.
It is worth noting that you do have to pay for the pilot in order to check it out. It is available for individual download or as a part of the Amazon Prime paid membership.
Amazon is literally putting the power into the hands of the viewers here. Social media and specific crowdfunding campaigns may give fans the satisfaction of sharing their opinions and even helping certain independent projects get made, but Amazon is really taking it to a whole other level. They are offering fans to say ‘Okay, if you want something badly enough, prove it; prove you will watch and rate it highly.’ It removes the financial risk from the company spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on episodes that may not be of interest but are usually ordered before pilots even air and it provides free marketing, as fans who want to see their favorite show return will end up sharing the pilot link through social media and telling others to pass it on, as well.
Though audiences will have to watch pilots independently, some of full seasons that later get ordered will surely be more readily binge-watched. Amazon has already exhibited great understanding of the best kind of content for such marathon viewing and ordered their pilots accordingly. Right now, they are only producing (half-hour) comedies and children’s program.
And since Amazon is an online service, allowing the audience to download and watch on demand, this “experiment” here should provide helpful data for longer-term original content models, as well, because the company should be able to track the viewing habits and patterns of their customers and then order pilots that fit those parameters, in addition to other trends and brand messaging.
Zombieland is already on Amazon’s site for your watching, reviewing, and sharing needs. Check it out here.
Are you excited to be a more active part of the original series process? Let us know your thoughts on Amazon’s model and the Zombieland pilot in the comments below!
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