Is Amazon trying to keep up with the Joneses? According to Forbes, Amazon may be turning a little green with envy watching Netflix, Hulu, & YouTube get into the premium original content creation game, because they're apparently gearing up for their own turn as a TV & movie studio.
How does Forbes know this? Well, for a brief while on March 6, Amazon's Joe Lewis listed his title on LinkedIn as "Vice President of Original Television at Amazon." Forbes isn't saying how they caught the unique job title (were they just refreshing his page waiting to see if something intriguing happened or did they get a tip from a reader?), but they do offer a screenshot:
So Forbes inquired, which resulted in Joe Lewis's LinkedIn page receiving a new title within minutes, and he's now listed as "Vice President, Production at Amazon Studios." Sadly, the cat doesn't go back into the bag that easily.
Lewis also has the kind of background you'd expect of someone brought in to manage original content--he's spent time as Director of Production at 20th Century Fox and Manager of Development at Comedy Central.
Amazon creating their own original content is as obvious a step as there is. Heck, even if the only reason they had was "because our competitors are all doing it" they'd catch little flack for following suit. But of course, original content has benefits for brands beyond just keeping up with the Joneses. It actually helps deliver engaged viewers.
Online video viewers are proving they're not turned off by content from brands, so long as that branded content leans toward entertainment first and advertising second. That's why brands from Red Bull to Coke have been ramping up their original content production efforts in an attempt to find and engage customers.
My hunch is that medium and small businesses, even local ones, will be headed this direction soon enough themselves, creating original entertainment content instead of TV commercials... engaging future customers instead of trying to sell them something.
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