International content chiefs James Farrell and Georgia Brown opened up about what the SVOD service is looking for outside of the U.S. at a Deadline-moderated keynote at Mipcom and how the platform is beginning to work with Fleabag and Killing Eve creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge after striking a mega overall deal.
Farrell, head of international originals at Amazon Studios, said that it wants to find formats that can stand out on the back of The Bachelor. “We took a flyer on that, we’re in the third season… and it’s doing phenomenally well. The reason that’s hit for us is there was nothing else like it [in Japan]. It stands out and it does really well,” he said.
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He revealed that it looked at how many people stuck with the series to the end before renewing it. “One of the key data points we look at is how many people are actually making it to the end. A lot of people might click on it, but how many people actually finish the season? The numbers on The Bachelor are phenomenal.”
Meanwhile Brown, who is head of European originals noted that non-scripted is trickier than scripted to find shows that will work for a premium platform, particularly because of the volume of projects that linear broadcasters debut every year. “What in the unscripted space works sat behind a paywall?… For us to compete in that space… how do we reshape these or elevate them in different ways to make them suitable for a streamer?… It’s not so obvious.”
The former Fremantle and Shine exec also talked about working with Waller-Bridge, revealing that UK-based exec Lydia Hampson, who produced Fleabag for All3Media-owned Two Brothers Pictures, is currently working with the Emmy winner on her new slate, in partnership with the U.S. team.
But she said the company isn’t only looking for the next Fleabag, but is searching for new writers and talent that can break out in a similar fashion. “Fleabag is one example of a great show, but we’re working on a huge variety of different scale of shows… It’s about meeting those producers, those writers, those new talents coming through and thinking how can we best support these people?,” she added.
Amazon has produced a slew of British co-productions including Good Omens and A Very English Scandal and is still keen to continue to do, despite the protestations for British broadcasters that the SVODs are only looking for fully-owned originals. “In co-production space we’ve had a fantastic couple of years… that’s something we’re going to continue to do… We want to engage customers on any level we can. It’s not just about giving them originals… we can offer them shows from lots of different people.”
Farrell talked up the opportunities in India, where it recently launched spy drama The Family Man. “The whole premium scripted drama area is pretty much a white space in India, where they make great films, great soap operas… but nobody is really making high-budget, high-quality, 8-10 episode scripted drama,” he said.
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