Wednesday, May 02, 2012 enters the sitcom, children's programming business

Don't laugh. is entering the business of producing TV shows, comedies and kid's shows, to be exact.

The company will be using its Amazon Instant Video service to provide the programming. Make no mistake, doesn't have anything in the pipeline yet ... or at least, didn't admit as such on Tuesday, when it announced the new move.

Instead, is calling for proposals for comedy and children’s programming to be uploaded to Amazon Studios at The best ones will then be distributed through Amazon’s digital video streaming service, Amazon Instant Video.

Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios said, “Amazon Studios wants to discover great talent and produce programming that audiences will love. In the course of developing movies, we’ve heard a lot of interest from content creators who want to develop original series in the comedy and children’s genres. We are excited to bring writers, animators and directors this new opportunity to develop original series.”

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The move actually had been outed in the traditional, whoops fashion in February, when new job listings on's careers site showed the company was looking to recruit creative executives for its movie and series production arm, the "People’s Production Company."

Those job listings were for executives who would "help develop half-hour comedies for online and traditional distribution."

A project submission must have a five-page description, as well as a 22-minute pilot script if a comedy, or an 11-minute pilot script (if a children’s show). Amazon Studios will either extend an option on the project for $10,000 or invite the creator to add the project to the Amazon Studios site, within 45 days of submission. If a project is not optioned, creators may remove their idea from the Amazon Studios site or leave it onsite in order to receive what could be useful feedback from the community.

Each month Amazon Studios will option one "promising" new project and add it to its development slate. Then, it will be tested for viability with an audience. If Amazon Studios decides to distribute a full-budget series, the idea's creator will receive a $55,000 payment, up to 5 percent of Amazon’s net receipts from toy and t-shirt licensing, and other royalties and bonuses.

Price said that any shows Amazon Studios produces will look and feel like “real” TV. That includes, he said, appropriate production budgets.

Still, the big news here is that continues to make more moves into the original content business, just like Hulu, Netflix, Google, and you name it. Naturally, when you think of original content, you might think of its book-publishing business. The company has even begun snagging established authors for that program, and traditional book publishers are well aware of the threat.

Meanwhile, Amazon Studios was launched in November 2010, and has received more than 700 test movies and 7,000 scripts so far. 15 movie projects are under development.

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