In case you need a reminder how flush and competitive the TV landscape is at the moment: Netflix is spending $5 billion dollars on programming this year. So, if you want to keep pace, you have to throw down some cash, and that’s exactly what their rivals Amazon are doing.
Today it emerged that the online retailer is backing a whole new slate of feature films. From “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway (who is already brewing a new comedy for Amazon titled “I Love Dick“), the studio is developing “Ten Aker Wood,” a coming-of-age story about a woman who leaves her failing marriage and life on a pot farm, and falls in love a biker and his lifestyle. Tamara Jenkins (“The Savages,” “Slums of Beverly Hills”) is working on the drama “Private Life” about a woman in her 40s who will do anything to have a child. Meanwhile, Barry Levinson has a movie brewing about the comedy scene in Los Angeles in the ’60s and ’70s, while Tom Kuntz (“The Onion Movie“) is working on the rom-com fantasy “Desired Moments.” And that’s not all.
The studio is dipping their toes into live broadcasts, with the half-hour “Style Code Live,” a fashion and beauty show hosted by Lyndsey Rodrigues, Rachel Smith, and Frankie Grande. It kicks off today.
It’s some big news for Amazon, who are carving out their own corner of this new television and film ecosystem, and Graham Taylor at WME has an apt metaphor for how they’ve evolved. “It’s like the T-1000,” he told Variety. “They’re getting faster, smarter, more operationally nimble.” And with the company expected to spend $3 billion on content this year, while they likely won’t catch Netflix just yet, they’ll be right on their tail.