If you are a frequent visitor of online streaming sites, it will be no surprise that these sites have their own original television shows. The site will often advertise them on their main page in order to get people to watch these shows rather than other network cable shows. Even after repeatedly advertising these shows, not many people will actually click on them.
In order to fix this lack of traffic, Amazon has decided to use crowdsourcing. The website has released fourteen free pilots made up of six children’s show and eight adult comedy shows. Amazon plans on using feedback from users in order to decide which pilots would be turned into series on their Amazon Instant Video site. Once a user has finished the pilot, a following screen will pop up asking them to provide feedback on what they just watched.
Amazon’s use of crowdsourcing in this case is very smart. Because they are providing these pilots free to users, it will encourage them to buy the service if they really enjoy the episode. Amazon Prime subscription is currently at $79/year, which is cheaper than Netflix and would provide the user with unlimited access. However, it is also possible that Amazon can add a pay per-episode feature to encourage users to still use the product to watch the new show even if they do not want to subscribe.
According to DigitalTrends.com, the pilots will include: “a continuation of the Zombieland movie using different actors,…a spoof on a ridiculous news network called Onion News Empire and a pilot about four U.S. senators living under the same roof in Washington D.C. called Alpha House.” Would you watch any of these? Amazon Studio’s head Roy Price understands the dangers of crowdsourcing in this industry. Price believes that in order for this feedback system to work, they must pick through the data to find the shows that will create “a dedicated fan base, even if it’s smaller.”
Amazon’s attempt to create original series is also an attempt to compete with big names in the online streaming business, such as Neflix and Hulu. In addition to using user feedback, Amazon has decided to make the promising series available in a per-week basis as opposed to an all at once approach by Netflix. Even though the idea of using crowdsourcing could really improve the quality of these original series, is it enough to compete with the already established Arrested Development season that Netflix will release in May?