The time to cut the cord on cable television has never been better. Between Netflix and Hulu Plus, consumers are treated to a variety of original programming financed and produced not by mega studios but by digital content companies that have little interest of seeding their content to cable channels. Netflix’s House of Cards has been a critical success and Hulu has some sleeper hits like Battleground.
With the investment in original content from its top competitors, Amazon will not be left behind.
Amazon today announced that it is picking up the pilot to Zombieland, a television series adaption from the movie staring Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Jesse Eisenberg. The move to pick up Zombieland is part of a larger original content play from Amazon as the company has promised to produce 13 series from a variety of pilots. Amazon is specifically focusing on comedy and children’s programming for its original content.
Zombieland and other pilots from Amazon will be featured on its Prime Instant Video streaming service. Amazon will pick the 13 series from its array of pilots based on user feedback.
The Zombieland series will be produced by the movie’s original creative team including writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. The roles occupied by the likes of Harrelson and Stone have been recast to Kirk Ward and Maiara Walsh, respectively.
Zombies are all the rage right now. The Walking Dead is killing it on cable. The adaptation of Max Brook’s novel World War Z is coming to the big screen in June with Brad Pitt.
Content Marketing At Its Best
People started scratching their heads a few years ago when companies like Netflix and Hulu started bidding on original series from prominent production companies. Why would Netflix spend millions of dollars to obtain House of Cards? Or make one final season of Arrested Development? This was not the business model we had come to expect from these companies. Netflix traditionally licensed content from the archives of major studios for its streaming service, not created its own.
As the original programming has come to the screen, the play has made a lot more sense. House of Cards has a lot of people talking and the only way to see it is to have a Netflix streaming account. Users will have to get a Amazon Prime account to see the likes of Zombieland.
Essentially, these original programs are giant marketing ploys. When it comes down to it, the point of marketing is to get people talking about your product. When people talk about your product, there is a chance they will actually spend money to use it. House of Cards certainly has people talking. If Zombieland the series is as good as Zombieland the movie, Amazon could see an uptick in Prime customers.
HBO has been doing this for years, from Oz to the Sopranos to Game Of Thrones. The difference now is that you do not need a cable subscription to get great exclusive programming.
Great For Cord Cutters
For consumers, the original content wars are the best thing to happen to television since the cable wars erupted in the 1980s. For the first time, television watchers are able to get true a la carte viewing options, choosing from here or there for what they want to watch as opposed to choosing various “bundles” of channels from the cable companies.
Consumers that want to rid themselves of the monthly cable bill will have plenty of content to choose from and not just the shows that aired years before. In the end, everybody wins (except for, maybe, the cable companies).
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