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Amazon May Join Netflix and Hulu and Produce Original TV Content, Report Says

Amazon hired a Hollywood insider triggering a guessing game as to whether the online behemoth may produce original content

Amazon may be the next online video streaming service to get into original programming following similar moves by competitors such as Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube. A new Amazon hire named Joe Lewis with a background in TV content production recently posted his title on the business-focused social network LinkedIn as Vice-President of Original Television at Amazon, according to Fortune. Amazon was not available for comment at the time of this writing.

Fortune was able to grab a screenshot of the new title posting, but soon after Fortune began asking questions, Lewis reportedly switched his LinkedIn title. Lewis' current title on his social networking profile is vice president of production at Amazon Studios, a job he took up in March 2012.

Amazon Studios

Amazon Studios was launched in late 2010 as an effort to find new filmmaking talent by allowing budding screenwriters, producers and directors to upload samples of their work to Amazon. Top submissions, voted on by site visitors, are awarded monthly cash prizes and annual awards of more than $1 million. Amazon signed a "first-look deal" with Warner Bros. Pictures giving Warner the right of first refusal to develop any promising movies that come out of Amazon Studios.

But if Lewis' recently changed LinkedIn title is any indication it appears that Amazon may also have plans to develop its own television content, possibly as part of Amazon Studios. This is not the first time reports have surfaced about Amazon's possible television content plans. In February, GigaOm uncovered several job postings indicating that Amazon was looking to develop comedy and children's television programming through Amazon Studios.

The Original Content Crowd

Getting into original television content production makes sense for Amazon since competing online providers are already debuting new content. Netflix in February launched Lilyhammer an original series starring actor/musician Steven Van Zandt. In late 2012, Netflix will also debut an American remake of the 1990 British mini-series House of Cards. The U.S. version stars Kevin Spacey and is directed by David Fincher. Hulu in February launched an original series called "Battleground," and YouTube in October 2011 announced a set of new channels containing original programs with more to come later in 2012.

Online streaming service providers are constantly looking for new ways to enhance their offerings and expand the reach of their services. Few have been more aggressive than Netflix. In addition to developing original content, Reuters recently reported the company is meeting with major U.S. cable companies to include Netflix as an on-demand video option for digital cable subscribers.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul) on Twitter and Google+, and with Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.


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