retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Associated Press reports that Amazon.com has ordered its sixth pilot for a TV series that would be aimed at children.

According to the story, "The online retailer announced Wednesday that it will make a test pilot for 'Sara Solves It,' an animated math-focused mystery developed by WGBH and Out of the Blue Enterprises. The show is the sixth pilot geared for kids by Amazon Studios, the retailer's original movie and series production arm."

Amazon reportedly will post all the pilots on its website later this year, and then decide which ones will go to series based on audience reaction and sales. The e-tailer also has TV series for kids and movies in development at its Amazon Studios division.

This is fascinating. Traditional TV networks will make their decisions over the next two months about what series will air in the fall, and then they'll order a set number of episodes of those series, which they will run in the same time slot week after week. Most won't succeed, and the process will start all over again. And yet, this is happening as companies that used to just be in the distribution business (Netflix, Amazon) are getting into the content business, empowering the viewer in new and different ways, and embracing that empowerment as the engine that will drive their future growth and differentiation. And, as noted here earlier this week, production companies that used to just make programs for traditional networks now see the likes of Netflix and Amazon as being prime potential buyers for their shows, with the added benefits of greater creative freedom (which sometimes, but not always, means swear words and nudity).

It is the total revolution of a business model. And it is a great example of what can happen to any industry if one does not shift and grow with the times ... if one does not keep one's Eyes Open.
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