Amazon Studios’ experiment in crowdsourcing scripts: were they right to abandon open innovation in developing new content?

In November 2010, Amazon Studios launched and opened its doors to allow anyone with a movie idea to submit a script to potentially be developed at the studio. After 7.5 years and over 27,000 submissions for both TV and film, Amazon pulled the plug on the project in April 2018 [1]. Why did Amazon Studios launch this open innovation platform for content creation? How did it work and why did they end the project? Were they right to stop crowdsourcing scripts for future development?

In November 2010, Amazon Studios launched and opened its doors to allow anyone with a movie idea to submit a script to potentially be developed at the studio. After 7.5 years and over 27,000 submissions for both TV and film, Amazon pulled the plug on the project in April 2018 [1]. Why did Amazon Studios launch this open innovation platform for content creation? How did it work and why did they end the project? Were they right to stop crowdsourcing scripts for future development?

 

User-generated and crowdsourced content such as videos, blog posts, product reviews, etc. has been a key driver of building online platforms such as Wikipedia, Facebook, Yelp, and YouTube. Open innovation can create strong network effects with the virtuous cycle of users creating, reviewing, and consuming content. Studies have shown “an evidence based causal link between user generated reviews and product demand” [2] which Amazon has seen first-hand on their eCommerce platform.

 

Since its founding, Amazon has been leveraging a wide consumer base to harvest data in both buying behavior and user-generate reviews. This data has been used to develop recommendation algorithms, create web-based business solutions (AWS), and point to new investments (Amazon Basics). When Amazon Studios was founded, Amazon had been a pioneer of distributing “user-generated content” with both books through their self-publishing platform AmazonEncore [3] and via the Amazon marketplace. Using consumer generated content in the form of books, products, and product reviews had allowed Amazon to generate sustainable network effects for its platform. As they developed a studio business, they hoped to do the same with video.

 

For a studio, crowdsourced content can be an inexpensive, wide-reaching funnel for innovative new ideas. In traditional film and television development, established industry stakeholders (e.g., agents, managers, talent, guilds, producers, etc.) and competitive bidding processes for projects create barriers to entry for new writers and high costs to develop a traditional project. With their open innovation platform, Amazon Studios could bypass many of these middlemen and avoid competitive bidding processes altogether.

 

Amazon Studios’ plan was to option roughly one promising project from the user-generated pool per month for $10,000, and pay the creator $55-200k if it was picked up for a full budget TV series or film [4]. To evaluate and find the best projects, Amazon Studios’ developed crowdsourced feedback mechanisms for evaluating scripts. Creators would post their ideas for open feedback, allowing for constant iteration and improvement [5]. Amazon Studios could then simply look at the most popular ideas for development.

 

The short-term strategy was to cast a wide net for ideas, allowing users to decide for themselves what should be made. At every stage, consumer input was solicited to drive user-based decision making. Medium-term, Amazon Studios was hoping to drive buzz around greenlit projects from user-generated content, ideally to drive subscribers to its Prime Video service. In 2013, Amazon Studios made available 14 pilots for customer feedback and open innovation [6]. Further, the project led to new product development for the creative process including Amazon Storywriter and Amazon Storybuilder [7].

 

In 2018, Amazon Studios shut down their script solicitation and pilot feedback program. Reports noted a shift in strategy with an eye towards efficiency and more traditional approaches to content development [8]. The decision also came in the wake of new studio head Jennifer Salke replacing Roy Price, a champion of the crowdsourcing project [9].

 

Why wasn’t the crowdsourced content and open innovation platform successful for Amazon Studios? Early in the project, when comparing Amazon Studios’ approach vs Netflix with House of Cards, Roy Price claimed, “If you’re betting on one show, it’s got to be right down the middle of the fairway, but if you’ve got 14, you can allow people to try new things” [10]. Unfortunately for Amazon Studios, what competitors Netflix, Hulu, and HBO found were subscribers being driven by those single, big bet shows [11].

 

Premium entertainment content for subscription services uniquely seems to be at direct odds with the benefits of open innovation, potentially due to the power of storytelling coming from singular unique voices and the fact that creating original scripts is incredibly hard – similar to developing high fashion or breakthrough innovations, consumers may not know what they want before they see it, ultimately at odds with a crowdsourced script platform. My recommendation for management would be to leverage user-driven innovation for lines of business where volume and scale of content or products (such as their marketplace) benefits from user-input and open innovation.

 

Open questions, though, are: Would there be potential spots further down the innovation funnel where crowdsourcing content could work for the studio business model? Should Amazon Studios have kept the program merely as a marketing and PR stunt? And could this open innovation platform be better used or developed at a different content creation company?

 

 

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Sources:

 

[1] Todd Spangler, “Amazon Studios Shuts Down Open Script-Submission Program,” Variety, April 14, 2018, https://variety.com/2018/digital/news/amazon-studios-shuts-down-open-script-submissions-1202753480/, accessed November 2018.

 

[2] Michael Luca, Handbook of Media Economics Volume 1, Chapter 12: User Generated Content and Social Media (Elsevier B.V., 2015), PDF e-book, page 571, accessed November 2018.

 

[3] Bob Minzesheimer, “Amazon gives the self-pubished a second life,” USA Today, February 3, 2010, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2010-02-04-amazonbooks04_ST_N.htm, accessed November 2018.

 

[4] “Writers, animators and filmmakers around the world are now invited to submit comedic and children’s series proposals,” Amazon Studios press release (Seattle, WA, May 2, 2012).

 

[5] Richard Lawler, “Amazon Studios expands into TV series, looks to load up on content for streaming,” Engadget, May 2, 2012, https://www.engadget.com/2012/05/02/amazon-studios-expands-into-tv-series-looks-to-load-up-on-conte/, accessed November 2018.

 

[6] “What the TV Biz Could Learn from Amazon Studios”, Variety,  https://variety.com/2013/biz/news/amazon-viewer-data-for-development-process-1200429921/, accessed November 2018

 

[7] https://techcrunch.com/2015/11/19/amazon-studios-launches-amazon-storywriter-free-cloud-software-for-screenwriters/

 

[8] https://www.engadget.com/2018/04/14/amazon-studios-ends-open-call-for-scripts/

 

[9] https://www.marketingdive.com/news/amazon-studios-drops-the-curtain-on-open-script-submission-program/521369/

 

[10] http://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/business/amazon-seeks-consumer-input-on-shows/article_4296ad1a-91b3-5e41-bb4d-c186cd8bf751.html

 

[11] https://www.foxbusiness.com/features/netflixs-house-of-cards-a-secret-weapon-for-subscriber-growth

 

 

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36 thoughts on “Amazon Studios’ experiment in crowdsourcing scripts: were they right to abandon open innovation in developing new content?

  1. Great post! I am surprised that Amazon Studios has shutdown the project without picking up good ideas. While I think that navigating through 27,000 submissions is very hard they could have used algorithm or machine learning to help filter good contents. I am sure that some of those submissions are indeed worth an investment and if Amazon studio does not take advantage of that competitors will soon do in some shape or form.

  2. Thank you for the very interesting insights. I like the idea of just keeping the program for marketing purposes – and if a big idea slips through even better. I think there would have been a possibility for Amazon to turn the program in a social space for movie/series enthusiasts to discuss new ideas and upcoming movies. Even beyond the benefit of having those people associate the discussions they are having with Amazon (since they happen on their website) all the insights accumulating over time might prove helpful to Amazon at a later point in time.

  3. I had no idea Amazon studios attempted to crowd source their scripts! This was a great article. Similar to Energy, I am surprised that the initiative was not more successful. With that said, I am sure talent agencies/other studio companies similarly receive thousands of submissions annually — meaning there must be some way to manage high submission volume. Would Amazon be able to invest in more (cost-effective) human capital to sift through the scripts, and advance promising story lines?

    I agree that there may be some PR value in Amazon maintaining the initiative at a surface level — but I also think a more mature media company may realize the true benefits of crowd sourcing. A company like Netflix, who is on the hook for extensive original content each year, may find crowd sourcing particularly cost effective — especially given its eye for strong scripts and story lines. As long as there is an efficient process in place, many companies should stand to benefit from tapping a broader pool of talent.

  4. Interesting to see how crowd-sourcing flopped in this context. It makes me think of other examples where crowd sourcing has worked and what’s different, and I think it comes down to how much value is in every incremental data point. If you’re Ancestry.com and trying to relate genes to predispositions for various illnesses, under no circumstance does adding a data point harm you (provided the data is accurate); your data set just continues to become more robust. In a creative application such as this, however, the sheer magnitude of 27,000 ideas is just far too much to meaningfully analyze. It’s as though the more data you get, the harder it becomes for the best ideas to stand out.

  5. Interesting to see crowd-sourcing for something creative like movie scripts. I have heard that other companies like Netflix are using data from users to determine what sort of TV shows to create (genre, cast, themes, etc.). I wonder if this data-driven approach has proven to be more effective than the open innovation approach, and could be why Amazon decided to shut the open innovation project down.

    I also wonder if there is a legal risk to Amazon if they accepted a script that potentially borrowed ideas from a book or other IP that they were not aware of.

  6. Their explanation for pulling the program seems a bit lackluster. There is no reason a studio can’t try both the tentpole traditionally developed program in additional a smaller number of smaller bets. I think potentially there might be additional reasons why crowdsourcing doesn’t work in this instance. The success of a show isn’t just determined by a script. There’s a ton of work in iterative writing, advertising, production, directing that require investment beyond the initial script. So I think while crowdsourcing can get a lot of early ideas, it still requires a huge commitment of additional resources to make it successful, and that may be where Amazon executives weren’t willing to follow-up.

  7. Very interesting topic – the king/queen of using consumer data to recommend additional products pulls the plug on receiving direct input from customers?

    I am still grappling with the idea as to why Amazon stopped utilizing crowd sourcing for new ideas for Amazon Studios. There have been multiple instances when I’ve thought to myself, “you know what they should make a show about?” Therefore I would have thought that this would have been a sure-fire hit. Maybe the viewing audience came with so many ideas that it made it tough to get behind an idea. Or ideas that the studio progressed from a customer’s insights into pilots were met with very little interest. Maybe I don’t even know what I want to watch and I have to wait for a big production studio to tell me what I should be watching?

  8. Wonderful article!

    I agree with Amazon’s decision to shut down the program — they got what they needed and have reason to exit. I believe their sole intent with this program, as with all of their business units, was simple: collect data. While this initiative created positive brand externalities, I believe the crux of this strategy lies in the fact they had people submit ideas for shows they wanted to see. By collecting this data, Amazon is now able to take these inputs and better craft shows that people want to see. While they collected the data they needed, I believe their ultimate decision to end the program was also due to potential reputational risk. What would the Screen Actor Guild or Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences think of them for doing this?

  9. How interesting! Amazon is certainly creative and happy to try new ideas!

    One of the reason that this didn’t fly was the net they casted was too wide. Although there were a lot of responses in building stories, there was really no way in assessing the quality of the scripts. I read that Amazon relied on popularity of scripts as a way to filter what script/story they will read and further develop. I assume that would be driven by how many edits and comments of a particular script are used as a key indicator for popularity, and therefore consumer’s interests for a real show. This might not be the best way of evaluation as there could be a net-work effect where an average script that got early attention could prevent other to explore all other contents. Perhaps by providing more scope and guideline would have made opensource script a more successful story.

  10. Great summary! From your post, I completely agree with Amazon’s decision to abandon open innovation as a vital component of their Amazon Studios division, and your notes related to the efficiency gaps between Netflix, Hulu, and HBO when compared to Amazon highlight why this idea was likely doomed. Amazon is a highly diversified company and making ideal investments is a top priority.

    I would also assert that keeping the program for marketing purposes does not make sense for Amazon; however, it may be a great tool for newer, smaller studios. Specifically, offering such a platform and creating a contest, offering a nominal award, publicized voting, and pilot production to the winner, similar to Amazon’s structure, could provide a larger incremental boost to a small company than it would to Amazon. There would also be less reputational risk for a smaller company if the movie flops, as expectations would be far lower than for Amazon. As such, a new show following the model of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” with a pilot filmed for under $200, would be a suitable, inexpensive lottery ticket.

  11. I really enjoyed this article, because I am a huge proponent of user generated content. I find it fascinating that Amazon actually invested in user generated content and offered amateur scriptwriters the opportunity to get their work produced. It sounds like they are no longer investing in this project because it was so costly and a bit of a time suck. I understand that, as the number of scripts they likely had to go through was in the thousands. My main concerns would also revolve around intellectual property laws. What are the rights involved with user generated scripts and what are the ethical implications of negotiating with someone who is a novice in this industry?

    I do believe this idea is great though. I could definitely see a smaller studio employing this method as a way to get quality scripts and it would also be a great marketing tool. But for a company as large as Amazon, I don’t believe that this strategy should be a central component of their strategy.

  12. Great post! Interesting perspective to look at open innovation where it did not ultimately succeed as a process improvement. One thing I would have thought script-writing has going for it as a potential fit for open innovation is that there are (seemingly) strong intrinsic motivators for the external innovators. One reason writers do what they do because they love to create. The research seems to indicate that problems with strong intrinsic motivators are conducive to collaborative, crowd-sourced problem solving. [1] I guess it must be as you said, that the best stories do come from a unique voice with a singular focus.

    Another reason that film & television may stand to gain less than other industries is that the pool of talent is relatively well defined and concentrated. I imagine that many of the best writers are already in LA or New York and have some tie to the industry – so if they are looking for the next big hit, it’s most likely to come from a source they could find without casting a wider net.

    [1] Kevin J. Boudreau and Karim R. Lakhani, “How to Manage Outside Innovation,” MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol. 50 No. 4, Summer 2009.

  13. One can contrast Amazon’s foray into crowdsourcing TV/film with its success in publishing through their Kindle platform. The latter succeeded because of the low production costs of publishing books, while I believe the former failed because of the prohibitively high costs of producing TV/film. However, as production costs continue to fall, I believe crowdsourcing ideas will flourish.

  14. I find it interesting that Amazon chose to shut down this program. Given Amazon’s focus on the customer, you would think that they would love to hear what users would like to see produced in the studio. However, I think this program would have benefited Amazon more had scripts been available for voting by the Amazon user community. This way, you would avoid the costs associated with actually making a pilot episode and could test demand via popular opinion of crowdsourced scripts.

  15. This was such an interesting article! I would have loved to be able to identify the different productions to compare the quality of crowdsourced ideas vs traditional ideas. It is interesting that it was shut down in 2018. What types of profits were generated from the crowdsourced media? I liked your question regarding whether Amazon should have kept the platform in order to act as a marketing device. I believe it would have kept customers engaged even if none of the ideas were used. Amazon could have just dedicated one of their productions to appear as a crowdsourced production and disregard the ideas that actually came through the funnel. However, that would also create potential integrity issues.

  16. While open innovation did not work for this type of content creation, I believe that this type of strategy could potentially be more successful with content creation in other types of industries. While movies require high upfront investments and cannot be modified once published, other types of industries use more iterative processes and are much less costly to create prototypes or a minimally viable product. Take for example the software industry, which uses open innovation regularly. Open innovation works in this context because there are no high barriers such as cost and technology to prove that the product works and is worth investing in further. In the future if movie companies can find ways to potentially lower these barriers and get to a more iterative product creation maybe open innovation can once again be used here.

  17. This example of open innovation as part of the content creation process for Amazon Studios is very interesting! In theory, it seems that this strategy could work because creativity can come from anywhere. However, I think there are two main reasons why it wasn’t successful, at least for now:

    1) The high upfront cost of content creation means that studios must invest a lot without knowing whether a project will be successful. The content business tends to generate a lot of duds and a big hit once in a while. So pursing many of these potential ideas at once and investing resources in them along the way is a very costly business model.

    2) For subscription video on demand (SVOD) services, it has been observed that a single big hit does more to generate new subscriptions than a large library of titles. So when Netflix and Hulu sacrificed quantity for a few high quality shows, those big hits were instrumental in driving new subscriptions. Through its crowd sourcing model, Amazon chose to pursue quantity at the expense of quality, and this proved to be the wrong move for new subscriber acquisition, at least for now.

  18. Open innovation does not work for an industry where content needs to be distinct and even polarizing to some extent. Script development if crowd sourced would be more homogenous and less provocative given that good ideas need to have a very unique point of view. While Amazon tried this innovative strategy, I think they were right to scrap the program. Too many resources would be wasted trying to determine the quality of the various scripts being submitted and I don’t think there is a way to automate this process. I believe open source innovation can be useful in places where high volume of input provides more value.

  19. This is such a popular post! Nice one. It’s cool that aspiring screenwriters had a chance for their biggest dreams to come true. While it’s a bit sad that this failed, I think it was inevitable. In fact, I think Roy Price was exactly wrong in your selected quote,“If you’re betting on one show, it’s got to be right down the middle of the fairway, but if you’ve got 14, you can allow people to try new things” [10].

    With crowdsourcing, you tend to get the middle-of-the-fairway results. The things that people vote for the most are the ones that don’t extract extreme responses. Did you ever see the internet meme Unpopular Opinion Puffin (see link at bottom)? This is one of the few memes that have been banned by internet content aggregator Reddit, because of its lack of substance. People voted for opinions that everyone held. I posit that the Amazon Studios scripts that received the best ratings were for unsurprising, uninteresting scripts, and risk-tolerant taste-makers at Amazon recognized that.

    https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/unpopular-opinion-puffin

  20. Loved the post. Really well written. Looking forward to the innovation from Amazon Studios when you are in charge. One way to possibly use crowd sourcing is to take an already popular show and ask people to submit their best ideas for a variety of things like a celebrity cameo, plot twist, popular culture reference they want to hear… etc. Perhaps that is a good way to get people involved in the show yet keep the quality of the content high.

    Watch our Reed, Ankur is coming….

  21. Thank you for your essay, Ankur. Having worked with Amazon Studios in some capacity at my previous job on their blockbuster “The Grand Tour” show, I can assure you that big ticket releases are not necessarily the answer to high viewership. While official data to my knowledge is not available, there is some question as to whether this investment really paid off for Amazon. Given all the work they did crowd sourcing thousands of scripts, I wonder if machine learning could be applied to scripts of top streamed shows and compared to the crowd sourced scripts to understand if there is a way to determine the potential success of a new show. Of course there will be many things that affect the performance, such as the actors, the set design, the release timing and so on, but script should play a significant percentage.

  22. This was such a cool article! I love Amazon, but I did not know they used to crowdsource ideas for content within their studios function. In response to your question of whether Amazon should have kept the program simply as a marketing gimmick, I think it would be a mistake for them to do so. Consumers are really smart, and if they did not see the company using any of the user generated content there would be a big backlash against the company. Additionally, I do not think the cost of maintaining the platform for some small level of PR would have been worth the risk of alienating a large portion of their consumer base.

  23. Wow, definitely one of the more popular articles here, Ankur! Good job 🙂 Crowd sourcing content from users seems to be great idea because in a way, you are trying to learn what users want you to make. Creative talents can also come from everywhere, not just your in-house creative writers, so casting a wide net can help you increase the chances of getting the next big hits. However, I wonder in the world of Netflix, Hulu, and yes Amazon itself, those content/tech companies are already using data to learn what their viewers want, and/or predict what is going to work and what is not. Perhaps that is more cost and time efficient method to get closer to viewers.

  24. This is a wonderful article on the use of open innovation in Media! I do believe that the use of open source innovation in media creation is one of the best uses of this form of innovation. This is because content is driven by personal taste and a lot of preference is guided by the movie watchers. It is important both from the economic as well as the production perspective to make the process of selection of content production more efficient. I do believe that while this did not work for amazon, it will work and is working for other companies such as Netflix and Youtube (Premium). The thought of retaining this as a marketing tool would have been a great idea to engage with potential customer, but I would see the same in the light of the cost benefit analysis.

  25. Super interesting – I had no idea that Amazon was using crowd sourcing / open innovation in this manner. I think the idea of open innovation in this setting (creative context, sourcing ideas from a diverse group of people, etc) is an amazing idea in theory, but in practice misses out on a few things. One, I think the actual content that is submitted may be more from individuals trying to get noticed, but may not be the blockbuster ideas that Amazon Studios is looking for. Two, the amount of volume and resources that Amazon will utilize in sifting through these ideas and pursuing a few of them may not be the best use of their time and money. I like the idea that Maurice Martin wrote above, which is using this for a more concentrated pool of ideas. I think that would provide Amazon with a better dataset of what people are looking for, potentially feedback on current shows, and could increase innovation for new programs.

  26. I love the idea of crowd sourcing for this context. I wonder if there is room for Amazon to combine its predictive analytics and crowd sourcing capabilities to suggest potential new projects to users then see what their reaction is to them. This could be an interesting way to strengthen its machine learning capabilities while also giving visibility to the crowd sourcing initiative. I also like the idea of Amazon using this as a marketing/PR initiative. Considering the company seems faceless to many of its users, this could be a great way to interact with customers who want to be creators and consumers of new content. Even further, Amazon could market products to those filmmakers submitting material.

  27. Wow, great article! I had no idea that Amazon had used this approach to create new content. Is interesting to see how a transformative trend (open innovation) did not work this time for Amazon.
    Regarding your questions, I think that Amazon could have maintained the program and extract value. I think that if the process became more efficient, crow-sourcing could provide value to develop new ideas.

  28. Thanks Ankur! Fascinating article – also cool hearing from someone with some true experience in this space.

    One side note – it’s always impressive not just how good Amazon can be at building new initiatives, but also how good they can be at figure out when they’ve failed and shutting it down. #fail fast

    Sometimes it does feel like crowdsourcing is almost a lazy or cheap trick. The market for free work from people of the world doesn’t always work. It’s a great point that sometimes people may not even know what they like until they see it.

    Maybe one solution could be micro-pilots? For example, instead of submitting a script, a group of creators actually produce a 1-3 minute vignette from the intended show – so that Amazon could understand not just the premise but the feeling or ethos – under the promise that if picked up, the entire cast will get a job making it. Crowdsourcing could still be a great idea, even if this specific implementation at this time didn’t work right. Nice work!

  29. Very interesting article about an unsuccessful use of open innovation by the giant Amazon. I agree with the author that very popular big bets seem to be the way that competitors are succeeding. I hypothesize that this happens because of the importance of word-of-mouth to bring new consumers to watch a movie/series in these online platforms. Big bets usually become viral and when many of your friends are talking about a movie/series, you will probably watch it too. The same is not true for less popular movies/series, that can’t benefit from this viralization.
    However, the author poses an interesting question about whether crowsourcing could succeed in spots further down the innovation funnel. I believe yes, it’s more likely to succeed further down the funnel. If we have a very competent creation team coming up with a range of scripts, we could leverage crowdsourcing for prioritizing among the possible scripts and also for fine tunning some characteristics of the winning scripts. People may not know in advance what the want for the next movie/series, but they probably know which one they prefer when they have to choose from a pre-defined menu.

  30. Really interesting post, Ankur! It’s nice to see that Amazon tries these types of approaches across their many business lines. I see some similarities with this approach and how they allow people to self-publish books on their Kindle service. Even if these tactics don’t bring in significant revenues, it does get users and customers engaged on their platform. It also potentially creates future partners on new work at Amazon Studios. Nice.

  31. A very interesting read and thank you so much for your time!
    Amazon clearly should push further with the open source platform and do not keep it as a marketing gimmick. clearly, there is potential there.

  32. Uh yeah, Amazon Studios should have kept open source movie/TV show ideas as a publicity stint! I don’t feel like there is harm or foul in this. I wonder what they offered the winner of the show and if there was potential for a submitted idea that one would feel was “copied”. This could create a potential risk to the whole process.
    I liked your article quote: “If you’re betting on one show, it’s got to be right down the middle of the fairway, but if you’ve got 14, you can allow people to try new things”. Knowing this, I think it makes sense that Amazon ditched the open source. It’s not about the quantity of ideas, its about quality of a few and I’m guessing there were too many ideas to sort through on this platform.

  33. This is a great example of the power and limitations of crowd sourcing / open innovation vs. machine learning. Netflix uses machine learning to design new original TV shows and movies. They use data collected from their millions of users to inform writers on potentially popular genres and plot ideas. This innovation process has worked well for them producing hits like House of Cards and Stranger Things. I think Amazon Studios failed because they were only able to get 27,000 submissions over 7.5 years via crowd sourcing. This is not nearly enough data points to produce the really good ideas.

  34. I am disappointed that Amazon cancelled the crowdsourcing project, and wonder whether it faltered simply due to lack of attention rather than lack of potential. It seems if they’d invested in developing the screenwriters that were submitting content and pushed toward one marquee success, they’d have built the buzz needed to really drive an uptick in fresh ideas through the platform. Before I fully cancelled the initiative, I’d reframe it as an idea-generation platform (i.e. actually move UP the funnel), as opposed to a script-generation platform, which would open up the project to many more people and allow well-vetted, talented screenwriters to be hired to build out the most popular or unique concepts.

  35. This is a very interesting topic – I had no idea that Amazon was at one point attempting to crowd source content. On the surface it makes sense as a way to cast a wide net on potential ideas, but I can also see how in an increasingly competitive market this could be inefficient. I think this project could be very exciting as a PR stunt, but I do not think that it could create a sustainable competive advantage for Amazon.

  36. Interesting article! I don’t think Amazon Studios should keep the programs for a marketing purpose. Sometimes, if the project or the company does not respond to the idea, ‘Open Innovation’ can be a burden that creates a negative brand image. I don’t know well about how Amazon Studios pick the idea and how many contents they make per year, but if they were more open for trials and errors on trying new and diverse idea, they might keep the channel open and gather more fresh idea to use as the source of gathering another data on consumer’s preference on contents. But without sophisticated algorithm or system to sort the idea to use them as what I mentioned, open innovation platform will have no effect to Amazon. So I support Amazon’s decision in current stage.

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