Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Shhh! Amazon Starts a Semi-Secret Digital Focus Group for Its Homegrown TV Shows and Movies.

basic instinctAmazon, which is starting to make its own TV shows, has already made a splash by letting anyone on the Web watch its test programs and weigh in on them.

Now it’s starting a more selective effort, where it invites some of its “best customers” into a semi-secret focus group and asks for their opinions on its programming even earlier in the process.

Here’s the way Amazon describes the program, which it is calling “Amazon Preview”:

Amazon Preview is an exclusive opportunity for entertainment fans to help shape Movies and TV Series. Once you’ve accepted our invitation, we will email you opportunities to view and provide feedback on entertainment projects — before they’re available to anyone else. We’ll share concepts, storyboards, test movies and even television pilots with Amazon Preview members and use the feedback we collect from them to make entertainment projects better.

You can learn a little bit about Amazon Preview by clicking on this link, and checking out these FAQs. But you can’t learn much more about the program unless Amazon asks you to participate. And even then, you may not make the cut.

Someone we know recently got an invite to Amazon Preview, but when they clicked through, they found this filtering screen, listing a long line of professions that they couldn’t work in if they wanted to join the program. So, no luck for them — or for people like me, or basically anyone remotely related to the media business:

amazon preview

Via email, an Amazon rep confirmed that Amazon Preview exists, but wouldn’t say much more. A Google search indicates that there aren’t many people participating yet — or if there are, they’re not saying much about it. It does appear as though Amazon is using Vision Critical, a Vancouver-based online research firm, to power the program.

Obviously, if you’re in the program, or know someone who is, we’d love to know more. Drop me a line:; I’m happy to keep you anonymous.

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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