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Amazon looks to streaming TV

News, 14 January 2015

NEW YORK: Amazon's ambitions in streaming TV were boosted by one of its shows receiving a Golden Globe, and the firm has now pulled off a major coup by bringing veteran film director Woody Allen on board to write and direct his first-ever television series.

The New York Times reported that Amazon had ordered a full season of half-hour shows which will be made available via the company's Prime Instant Video service in the US, UK and Germany.

"I don't know how I got into this," said Allen in a statement. "I have no ideas, and I'm not sure where to begin."

Amazon became the first streaming service to win a Golden Globe when Transparent picked up this year's award for best television comedy or musical. The star of the series, Jeffrey Tambor, also won the award for best actor in the category.

Winning such honours helps prove that streaming companies can not only distribute content but also create it at the highest level. And Amazon's awards led commentators to remark on the depth of original content that the online retailer was starting to build.

The New York Times noted that Amazon has already changed the way consumers buy everything from books to diapers and high-definition TVs; now, it is "trying to disrupt yet another industry."

Part of that process comes in the way it chooses what shows become series – Amazon Prime members can view pilots and vote on which are then taken forward. Last week, the company announced 13 new shows, a mix of comedy and drama, on which viewers will be able to pass judgement.

The streaming market, however, is becoming increasingly crowded, as Amazon, Netflix and Hulu are soon to be joined by HBO. The cable network, which has a reputation for producing high-quality original drama, has announced that it too will introduce a standalone streaming service this year

As talent shifts to streaming and cable prices rise, Techcrunch remarked that "cord cutting is becoming a more and more attractive option".

Data sourced from New York Times, Techcrunch; additional content by Warc staff