Amazon announced that they would be getting into the feature film business, and in doing so, are looking to completely change the way media – particularly films that would typically be ‘hits’ in theatre – and making them available online just a short time after their release. The company notes that they would likely wait just three weeks from the theatrical release, and then launch the movie online, as well. For Prime users, the movies would show up on Instant Video queues just four to eight weeks after theatrical release.
Amazon will be calling their venture “Amazon Original Movies,” and will be working to compete more directly with Netflix, HBO, or AMC, who all are coming up with more compelling original content than Amazon has been able to produce, thus far. The Original Movies team will be led by Ted Hope, who had actually founded the production company “Good Machine.” Good Machine was behind Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, as well as the movie Eat Drink Man Woman – both of which enjoyed good mainstream success. Amazon also said in a statement that they would be working to tap into a market that remains untouched. They said the original content curated by Amazon would be ideal for those who are frustrated with movies that typically make it to theatre, and feel as though it is a “struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience.”
At the end of the day, though, it is about obtaining subscription fees, as well as additional sign-ups for services like Prime. Perhaps with an original feature film business, they could compel customers – similarly to the way they are compelled by Netflix with House of Cards – to become paying members. While individual sales and successes of individual movies would be beneficial – it does not guarantee success of this type of program – since the company would not make as much off theatrical releases as they would those much-needed subscriptions.
Amazon is pushing its focus beyond distributing media. Now, the company is looking to begin creating some of the media it sells as well, and if this goes as the company hopes it does – could have a major impact on the streaming service industry – as well as the way theatrical releases are handled.