Amazon Studios invites viewers to vote on 14 pilots

The production of eight comedy pilots and six kids' pilots will be determined by viewer feedback

Technology trends and news by Faith Merino
April 19, 2013
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The future of TV is online. I say this as a fresh-faced, doe-eyed cord-cutter. Netflix has gone all in with several new original series slated to debut this year—with the entire season being released at once. Amazon is also getting into the original series space, but it’s taking a different route: it’s going to have viewers choose the shows they want to see.

On Friday, Amazon Studios released 14 original comedy and kid show pilots for viewers to vote on. Comedy pilots include:

-AlphaHouse, about four senators living together in a rented house

-Browsers, a musical comedy about four young interns starting their first jobs at a news website

-Dark Minions, an animated series about a couple of slackers on an intergalactic warship

-The Onion Presents: The News, a scripted behind-the-scenes look at The Onion

-Supanatural, an animated comedy about two divas protecting mankind from supernatural forces

-Those Who Can’t, about a couple of immature high school teachers

-Betas, a couple of young people attempting to make it big in Silicon Valley

-and Zombieland, based on the movie

Six of the 14 pilots are kid shows, including Tumbleaf, Teeny Tiny Dogs, and Annebots, among others.

Viewers can start judging the shows today, but Amazon may end up producing more than one. A company spokesperson says it’s too early to tell how many of the pilots will be produced into full blown series. And indeed, viewers aren’t just limited to one show for which to vote. Rather, viewers are asked to take a brief survey and leave feedback on their favorite pilots. So we could be seeing several new comedies and kid shows on the horizon—which is a relief, because so many of those shows sound so awesome.

It’s an interesting strategy. Where Netflix mined its own data and found that its viewers like David Fincher, Kevin Spacey, and political dramas to get House of Cards, Amazon is essentially leaving the decision-making up to the viewers.  In addition to viewer feedback, Amazon Studios will be looking at how long people watched each pilot, which pilots are being discussed via social media, and of course there will be focus groups.

There’s no word on when we might see the first of the newly produced series, but it took Amazon Studios four months to get all of the pilots up, so it will no doubt take several more months to get a full series produced and ready to watch. So don’t go falling in love with any of the shows just yet. 


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