Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) TV show Alpha House made its debut on 15 November. What's special about this show is that it's the first original TV show of Amazon. On November 4, 2013 Amazon announced that its two original series Alpha House and Betas will make their debut on Amazon Instant Video on November 15 and November 22, respectively. As promised the company launched Alpha House and Beta onl their due dates and also made them available for free on Amazon Instant Video. Only the first three episodes will be available for free beyond that one has to subscribe to Amazon Prime, the company's subscription based service, to view the rest of the episodes.
The pilot episode of Alpha House was aired on the Amazon Instant Video on April 19, 2013. Written by the Academy Award nominee and Pulitzer Prize winner Garry Trudeau, Alpha House is a weekly comedy series featuring John Goodman. It's about four misfit senators who rent a house together in Washington DC. Its star cast includes actors such as Clark Johnson, Matt Malloy, Mark Consuelos, Cynthia Nixon, Amy Sedaris, Wanda Sykes and Julie White.
As per Garry Trudeau:
"The first season is about the fight for survival among incumbent Republican senators first elected in the pre-Tea Party era. Even though they're all solidly conservative, three of the four senators living in Alpha House are facing strong primary challenges from the right. The struggle to hold onto their core values drives both the comedy and the drama in our show"
Launched on November 22, 2013, Beta is written by Evan Endicott and Josh Stoddard. It is about Silicon Valley start-ups. It follows four friends as they attempt to strike it rich with a new mobile social networking app. Its star cast includes actors such as Joe Dinicol, Karan Soni, Jon Daly, Charlie Saxton, Maya Erskine and Ed Begley Jr.
As per Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios:
"Betas has been an incredibly fun show to create for customers. We have a stellar cast of comedians and actors, and we think customers are going to enjoy it,"
The launch of Alpha House and Beta is just the beginning as the company plans to add more and more exclusive content to its library. The company plans to follow the same route for the future shows as it follow for Alpha House. The company will first launch the pilot episode and seek the customer feedback before launching a full series.
Recently, Amazon Studios announced 11 new pilots including:
Kids pilots: Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street, Grid Smasher, Hard-Boiled Eggheads, The Jo B. & G. Raff Show, The Maker Shack Agency and Wishenpoof!.
Comedy pilots: Mozart in the Jungle, The Rebels and Transparent.
Drama pilots: Bosch and The After.
The online streaming industry is getting bigger and bigger and also more and more competitive by the every passing day. The companies like Amazon, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Hulu, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube, etc. are competing with each other to get a lead in the industry. Netflix is clearly leading the pack with about 40 million subscribers.
With the rising competition the content exclusivity is increasingly becoming important for the companies, as the content exclusivity differentiate them from competitors. Netflix is the first company that introduced the exclusive content in the on-demand video streaming industry. With the introduction of Alpha House Amazon has become the second major company to offer exclusive content to users. In-fact Amazon moves one step ahead of Netflix by offering some episodes for free. This will not only gives more exposure to the shows but also shows how confidence is the company about the quality of the content. The Alpha House already is the most watched show on the Amazon Instant Video.
- Need of original series:
Ever since its entry in the business Amazon Instant Video, the company is struggling to gain a foot in the industry, which is dominated by the early entrant Netflix.
According to a report from The NPD Group during the Q1, 2013 Netflix accounted for 89% of the total subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) TV shows viewership followed by Hulu Plus with 10% share. The NPD also said that SVOD services viewership increased 34% year-over-year. Though the viewership of Amazon grew by 100% during the period but the overall market share for the company still stood at meager 2%.
Considering the fact that the company is in the business for over five years the 2% share is a matter of concern and demands a strategic shift. The introduction of original shows is the first sign that the company is shifting its focus for the business. The company is shifting its focus from bundled offerings & cost-effective service to quality content & cost-effective service. The company wants to challenge the Netflix dominance in the fast growing industry by following Netflix's footsteps. The planned launch of slew of exclusive shows in the future (subject to the customers' feedback) will further increase the competition in the industry. The company is following aggressive and consumer friendly marketing strategy by offering free episodes.
All in all, excellent news for the company and investors as the company is making some serious efforts to differentiate its content offerings from the competitors. This will help the company to grow its subscriber-base, which is the most important requirement for the success in the on-demand video streaming industry.
Disclaimer: Investments in stock markets carry significant risk, stock prices can rise or fall without any understandable or fundamental reasons. Enter only if one has the appetite to take risk and heart to withstand the volatile nature of the stock markets.
This article reflects the personal views of the author about the company and one must read offer prospectus and consult its financial adviser before making any decision.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.