Magazine article Screen International

Amazon Reveals Top Two Shows

Magazine article Screen International

Amazon Reveals Top Two Shows

Article excerpt

Amazon executive Roy Price talks London, India and Japan expansion.

When reports broke in 2015 that Amazon Studios had paid between $160m to $250m to sign up former Top Gear stars Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May for 36 episodes of its new rival motoring show Grand Tour, there was incredulity in the UK press and parts of the film and TV industry.

Speaking at MIPTV in a keynote media mastermind session on Monday, less than five months after the global launch of Grand Tour at the end of 2016, the group's vice president Roy Price told the audience the investment had paid off, although he would not divulge the exact value of the deal.

"Grand Tour is an expensive show but it's well worth it. It's actually efficient and good economics. In the video on demand business the thing that is going to make most difference is the show that people are talking about and are really compelled to see.

"People come in and want to do the free trial because of the show and Grand Tour brings all that. In Prime Video around the world in pretty much every territory the top two shows are Grand Tour and The Man In The High Castle. So those shows are really bringing in customers, keeping in customers and that's a big area of focus."

A show's ability to hook and retain new subscribers to the Prime service was one of the deciding factors on whether it would be cancelled or retained, he said.

"You certainly pay attention to whether subscribers are engaging with the show and if it influencing people to stay subscribed, or influencing people who are in their free trial to convert to become actual subscribers and getting people into the free trial -- so you look at engagement and you look at influence."

Woody Allen, Barry Jenkins

When it came to green-lighting new shows or boarding a feature film, Price said the studio's strategy was based on working with top artists, rather than trying to second guess what audiences want next by what they are currently watching.

"The most important thing is to get artists absolutely at the top of their game, who are inspired and who are in their moment and are excited to do something new and empower them to do that.

"So that's what we focus on and we've got an amazing group of artists who are creating great work. …

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