Forget securing television shows and movies from content providers like Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) or Sony (NYSE:SNE), streaming-video providers from Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) to Hulu (CMCAA) to YouTube (NASDAQ:GOOG) to Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) are beginning to produce their own content.
In an interview with Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings, published in GQ’s February edition, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos outlined how the company plans to expand its content offerings. He told the publication that Netflix has set a goal of creating five new shows per year. He currently has $300 million in his budget, which has enabled the streaming-video provider to create its first original programming lineup: House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, Hemlock Grove, a second season of Lilyhammer, and the fourth season of Arrested Development. The first show, House of Cards, is set to debut on February 1.
But Amazon has matched Netflix step for step; the company announced additions to its original video schedule Thursday morning. The five new shows will be aimed at children and join the six comedy pilots Amazon approved last December. Creative Galaxy developed by Blue’s Clues creator Angela Santomero and Teeny Tiny Dogs produced by The Jim Henson Company are among the lineup.
One trend in the industry is towards targeting younger audiences; Netflix recently launched “Netflix Just for Kids,” Hulu has its “Hulu Kids,” and now Amazon is expanding its content offerings in that arena as well. But unlike Netflix’s original programming, Amazon has only greenlighted pilots, meaning future episodes will be subject to “viewer feedback” before they are picked up for a full season.
With these new additions, Amazon has begun to make its service look more like a television network, which is the aim of another of Netflix’s competitors, Google’s YouTube. The service has already made plans to change online video watching. AdAge reported earlier this week that Google will soon launch paid subscriptions for individual channels on its video platform, meant to convince content producers, viewers, and advertisers to make YouTube their preferred outlet rather than traditional television. These channels will also include content created specifically for YouTube by the service’s partners
Original content has become a popular strategy for Internet-video providers. With companies like Amazon, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Hulu spending huge amounts of money on their streaming services, the cost of licensing exclusive content has become astronomically expensive.
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