John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

It’s Not TV, It’s Amazon

Hulu has “Paul the Male Matchmaker,” Netflix has “Lilyhammer” and “House of Cards.” And what does Amazon have in the way of original video programming? Nothing much yet. But that may soon change.

New job listings on Amazon’s careers site show the company looking to recruit at least two creative executives for the “People’s Production Company,” its movie and series production arm. Specifically, it’s seeking executives to quarterback its children’s and comedy programming efforts. Each job’s top duty: To “help develop half-hour comedies for online and traditional distribution.”

And traditional distribution. Interesting.

So maybe Amazon’s big digital push into the traditional television business is broader than just streaming video.

Or, on the other hand, maybe it’s just a toe-touch that doesn’t mean much until it means something — like “Amazon Studios,” a screenplay submission factory the company created in 2010 that has yet to result in very much.

Hiring a few executives, or even greenlighting a couple of original shows or series, isn’t much of a commitment for Netflix or Hulu. And it means even less for Amazon, which generated nearly $4 billion in operating profit last quarter.

But those same resources mean that if Amazon ever does get serious about the content business, it can get very, very serious.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work