TCA 2018: Amazon Execs Cast Prime as Alternative to Netflix

Complete Coverage: TCA 2018 Summer Press Tour

Beverly Hills, Calif. – Amazon Studios wants to be known as an alternative to major content brands like Netflix, but it won’t look to keep up with its competitors in regards to the number of projects developed, according to Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke.

Salke, who spoke during Amazon’s Television Critics Association summer press tour session Saturday along with Amazon Studios television co-heads Albert Cheng and Vernon Sanders, said the company should be considered as an alternative to competitors like Netflix and HBO that creates original programming to serve its Prime Video subscribers.

Salke said Amazon will not hesitate to go after high-profile projects like its acquisition last November of TV rights for The Lord of the Rings franchise — the company announced JD Payne and Patrick McKay will produce the series — but will be selective in the original projects that it undertakes.

Related: Amazon Studios Orders ‘The Expatriates’ to Series

Amazon will no longer allow Prime customers to vote on new pilot shows according to Cheng, adding that it took too long to produce a series once a show was chosen.

On the original series side, Salke also said the network will bring back its Emmy-winning series Tranparent for a fifth and final season, and is working with series creator Jill Solloway to develop the script for the series.

The series will continue after star Jeffrey Tambor was fired from the series earlier this year over allegations of sexual harassment.

“We’ll give the [Transparent fans] the closure that they’re looking for,” she said. 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.