Amazon sent an email around asking customers to decide on TV pilots it is considering for its Prime Video streaming service. That’s nice. But in the end, we all know its Amazon executives who really decide. Still, the big retailer figures some consumer input can only help.
Netflix doesn’t do this -- as far as I can tell. It doesn’t ask for advice from its consumers via email. But Netflix figures out what its subscribers might like from what they have already watched.
Is all this new? Not exactly.
For decades, TV networks have long used independently operated focus groups to determine preferences about new TV programs, actors and storylines. Many TV executives might cite, from time to time, that some new show has “tested” to the highest levels -- only to see those shows cancelled after a couple of episodes.
It’s not a perfect science. More recently, networks have been monitoring social media to see how its new and/or existing, shows are doing -- and perhaps make changes.
This becomes more pressing when higher TV and movie development costs come into play. Netflix, for example, now has a $6 billion TV/content development budget for this year -- nearly rivaling many big broadcast networks.
Knowing what consumers might want on TV -- and for all their entertainment choices -- can be tough to decipher. Big movie studios may seem to have a leg up sometimes when it comes well-known brand action franchises -- “X-Men,” “Star Trek,” “The Fast and the Furious” and others -- especially among young males.
TV networks can do the same in re-starting well-known entertainment brand names: “Lethal Weapon” on Fox,” “Fuller House” on Netflix. Not everything is a hit, of course. CBS’ most recent version of “The Odd Couple” is offering mostly middle of the road viewership.
Maybe there is a better way. While deciding on latest skin cleaner, shelving systems or jazz shoes, will Amazon’s video subscribers help the ecommerce retailer make the right TV program decisions?
If so, maybe traditional TV networks should also offer up some TV adjacent shopping from the likes of QVC and HSN.
The TV networks used to use this method as one way to gauge the appeal of prospective new series---not email, of course, but via a questionnaire with one paragraph
descriptions of the prospective new shows, their stars, etc. I wonder how Amazon did its survey using the email approach? How much of a description of each show was provided?