Amazon is to pilot fewer shows and boost its straight to series orders in a bid to speed up the delivery of new programmes.

Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Amazon Studios boss Roy Price said: “I think pilots are going to have to play probably less of a role going forward because the reality is that they sort of slow you down.”

He explained that it could take three years to get a series on screen if it had piloted first, rather than the traditional 12-18 months if commissioned straight to series.

Price added: “The reality of the marketplace is that it is competitive and often you have to go straight to series…We have a few pilots in the works now, but there will be fewer than before. “

Amazon has had success with shows such as Transparent through to The Grand Tour, but finding stand out shows remains a challenge said Price.

Asked to define an Amazon show, Price said: “It is hard to put it exactly but obviously you have to differentiate. You want something that has a clear vision. If you are going to differentiate against the many, many, many shows that are out there, then I think a show has to have a distinctive voice.”

“At the end of the day the only way to get that is to find a creator who is super talented, has a strong vision for a show, is doing something new and then you really support their distinctive vision. You can’t get them to try to do a show your way or say I’m going to tell you how to make a comedy, because then they are all going to be the same and are not going to stand out.”

Price said the cost of “normal show” for Amazon stood at between $4m to $6m an hour, although some programmes will have twice the budget.

“Game of Thrones” has changed the equation, he said, describing it as the Jaws of the television world. “Bigger world, bigger budgets – that’s something that I would anticipate throughout the marketplace.”

Tim Dams

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