May 2, 2012, 12:52 PM

Amazon will develop its own online TV shows

Its content development division will begin to develop comedy and children's series.

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Amazon.com Inc.’s content development division, Amazon Studios, today announced plans to produce original comedy and children’s programming for the web, which it will distribute through Amazon Instant Video, Amazon’s digital video streaming service.

In doing so it is taking a page from Netflix Inc., Yahoo Inc. and others that have recently plunged into the web TV production game. However, Amazon is adding its own twist by enabling aspiring TV show developers to upload proposals for shows on the Amazon Studios’ web site. Amazon Studios plans to option one project a month, which means it will add the project to its development slate, at which point Amazon will test the project’s appeal with an audience.

This marks the first time Amazon has moved into TV production. Until now Amazon Studios, which launched in November 2010, has focused on film production. It has 15 movies in development. “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,” says Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios.

Within 45 days of a creator submitting his proposal, Amazon will either extend an option on the project for $10,000 or invite the creator to add the project to the Amazon Studios site. If a project is not optioned, creators may remove their idea from the Amazon Studios site or leave it to get community feedback.

If Amazon Studios elects to produce and distribute a full-budget series, the creator will receive a $55,000 payment, up to 5% of Amazon’s net receipts from toy and t-shirt licensing, and other royalties and bonuses.

Former 20th Century Fox and Comedy Central executive Joe Lewis and National Geographic Kids executive Tara Sorensen will oversee the new series development.

Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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