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Amazon picks 5 new original series, start streaming later this year

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Amazon has announced that it will press forward and produce five original series to stream exclusively on its Prime Instant Video service in a bid to compete with Netflix over marketing original content to attract subscribers.

The five are made up of two comedies, Alpha House and Betas, and three kids shows, Annebots, Creative Galaxy, and Tumbleaf. They will start streaming on Amazon beginning later this year and early in 2014, though exact dates have yet to be confirmed.

Part of the process in deciding who made the cut fell on customers providing feedback on the TV show pilots Amazon had released to gauge interest. It’s not known if the shows that weren’t selected will be dropped completely or just put on the backburner.

Not that there hasn’t been a load of interest. Since Amazon launched its studio division in 2010, over 15,000 movie scripts and 3,600 series pilot scripts have been submitted. Today’s announcement only covers series, as the same process is ongoing for the 24 films currently being developed for later audience testing. “This is just the beginning,” said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios.

Much like Netflix has been doing, and Hulu plans to do, this foray into original programming looks to be a new battleground between streaming video providers. Netflix found success with political drama House of Cards and the revival of Arrested Development, and more exclusive shows are in the works. Competition is mounting over these exclusive productions, as they offer a unique alternative to traditional broadcast.

The budgets for each new show haven’t been revealed but there is some modest star power to note. John Goodman stars in Alpha House, a political comedy where four Senators end up as roommates. Betas doesn’t have any household names, but another comedic premise in following four friends looking to successfully launch a mobile social networking app.

For the kids shows, Annebots follows Anne and the three robots she’s created to help with her experiments, Creative Galaxy is an interactive art adventure series and Tumbleaf is a stop-motion show aimed at preschoolers.

More information on the shows, including casting, can be found right here

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