In the war between network and streaming TV, network has taken a hit. Amazon has lured away Albert Cheng, EVP of digital media at ABC. He had spent a decade with the company and was credited with making the network’s shows available online. Now, however, he’ll be a competitor, filling the role of chief operating officer of Amazon Studios — the unit behind the corporation’s original TV and movie content. He’ll be joined by another recent hire, Bob Berney, the former CEO of Picturehouse, who is known for marketing indie films such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding and The Passion of the Christ.
Over the last few years, Amazon Studios has increasingly created original content. Though they’ve already had success with kids’ shows and their comedy-drama series Transparent, which has garnered critical acclaim, they clearly don’t plan to rest on their laurels. The decisions to hire Cheng and Berney show that Amazon takes being a content creator seriously and won’t be satisfied with their accomplishments to this point. The e-commerce site-slash-streaming service(-slash-everything, really) recently announced that they’d be moving forward with five new series that were part of their “Pilot Season” program. We expect a lot more trial pilots as they ramp up their content creation efforts, and in turn, more original series. On top of that, Amazon Studios announced earlier this year that they’d be aiming to produce a dozen movies each year.
It’s a big deal to see a streaming service pull a national network executive away from his successful and presumably very lucrative career. Not only is it a coup for Amazon, it shows that viewers aren’t the only ones interested in what streaming services are doing. They’re revolutionizing the way we watch TV, and it looks like even network execs want to be a part of it.