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Amazon, Xbox cool on Netflix’s binge model

The executives running the content arms of Amazon and Xbox have separately told DTVE’s sister title TBI they have serious reservations about the Netflix model of releasing all episodes of an original series at once.

Amazon Studios is about to release a slew of originals for its Amazon Instant Prime service in the US following a fruitful wave of piloting, while Xbox Entertainment Studios is working on a range of original content across genres ahead of the launch of Xbox One later this year.

Xbox Entertainment Studios president and ex-CBS network president Nancy Tellem said: “Catch-up, which is what Netflix is, suits binge viewing. I think with some projects, and as we develop content associated with games or with events, it might not be the optimal opportunity [for us] to focus on binge.”

Amazon Studios director Roy Price also voiced reservations, telling TBI that withholding some installments of a series is a good way to build anticipation and that simultaneous releasing effectively means delaying a launch as the entire show needs to wrap production first.

“It’s possible there is a middle-ground hybrid model,” he said. “That may be episode one, or one through three, and then release the others as they become available.” He added: “One may be too few and thirteen may be more than enough.”

Amazon announced its first five original series in May, which were selected from a pool of 14 pilots. They included political comedy Alpha House, which will star John Goodman; Betas, about four roommates trying to get a social media start-up off the ground; and kids series Annebots, Creative Galaxy and Tumbleaf. It has since greenlit two more pilots, The After from Chris Carter (The X-Files) and kids series Maker Shack Agency.

Xbox Studios, meanwhile, is making a Halo live-action series. The upcoming show, based on the computer games franchise, will be executive produced by Steven Spielberg.