Amazon has recruited Woody Allen to create his first TV series.
In a press release issued earlier today, Amazon says that Allen will write and direct a new series of half-hour episodes, provisionally titled Untitled Woody Allen Project. The series will be available only to Prime Instant Video subscribers in the U.S., U.K, and Germany.
In a statement that perhaps doesn’t instill the greatest confidence, Allen says, presumably somewhat tongue-in-cheek:
“I don’t know how I got into this. I have no ideas and I’m not sure where to begin. My guess is that Roy Price will regret this.”
Roy Price, if you didn’t know, is Vice President of Amazon Studios, the Amazon arm responsible for developing original content.
From Hollywood to VoD
Woody Allen is better known for his work in Hollywood and Broadway, having written, directed, and starred in a myriad of movies and plays since the 1960s. Today’s news is notable for a number of reasons, as it goes some way towards validating not only Amazon’s own online media efforts but streaming video-on-demand (SVoD) services in general.
Both Amazon and Netflix were winners at the Golden Globe awards on Sunday, suggesting that original content has come of age in the online streaming realm. It’s no longer complementing mainstream entertainment, it is mainstream entertainment. A number of well-known stars, such as Kevin Spacey, have already taken to online platforms, but having a major movie icon like Allen choose Amazon for his first foray into TV could be viewed as a milestone moment.
One final point. We previously wrote that Amazon’s $99/year Prime subscription service was becoming too good to ignore. The fact that this series will be exclusive to Prime members gives more support to that notion. If Amazon can convince other big-name stars to come on board and create exclusively for it, the online giant could have a powerful weapon in its arsenal as the VoD battle heats up.