Amazon Studios to compete head-on with broadcast networks for original content

Online television is creating new opportunities for the makers of television programs, creating new competition for broadcast networks and other content providers. Among the latest is Amazon Studios, the program development division of, which has announced that it is expanding into episodic comedies and children’s shows for prime time.

Independent TV writers and producers have been invited to upload series proposals that will be reviewed by the Amazon Studios team and, potentially, added to the company’s development slate. The best series will be distributed online via Amazon Instant Video.

“Amazon Studios wants to discover great talent and produce programming that audiences will love,” said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios. “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.”

Writers and filmmakers can also submit full-length feature film scripts for consideration at Amazon Studios. Creators of original movie scripts or series projects added to the development slate will receive a $10,000 payment.

To be considered, a series project must have a pilot script for a 22-minute episode (or 11-minute episode, if it’s a children’s series) and a series mini-bible—a project description two to six pages in length. Within 45 days of submission, Amazon Studios will either extend an option on the project or invite the creator to add it to the Amazon Studios community. If a project is not optioned, creators may remove their idea from the Amazon Studios site or leave it to get community feedback.

Each month, Amazon Studios intends to option one promising new series and add it to its development projects. If Amazon Studios produces a series, the creator will receive a $55,000 payment, plus five percent of Amazon’s net receipts from toy and T-shirt licensing, and other royalties and bonuses.

Amazon Studios offers a variety of opportunities for writers, directors and animators. Currently, there is a Promo Video Contest with a total of $7,000 in awards for the best visual representation of a series in 10-60 seconds. Amazon Studios also intends to regularly fund pilots for testing and issue calls for proposals to turn a series on the development slate into animated or live-action pilots.