Amazon Brings Shows to Life to Stand Out in the Streaming Space

June 3, 2019

By Michelle Castillo

As more streaming services like Disney+ and WarnerMedia launch for viewers, Amazon Studios is finding it has to do more to stay top-of-mind for customers.

"At the end of the day we're competing for customer's time, and so it's up to us to make sure that our customers realize we've got shows that are relevant, interesting, and high quality," Amazon Studios head of marketing Mike Benson told Cheddar. "Whether we're competing with another streaming service or a broadcast network, were competing for people's time."

This year, there will be more than 500 original scripted series going into production, Benson pointed out. And with about 600 movies a year plus other video services like YouTube, there's tons of content out there for people to choose from, he added.

"We think adding more streamers into the streaming business is good overall," he said. "I think on the customer side of things, it gets challenging to figure out since there's so much, what do I watch? I think that becomes the bigger challenge for us as a marketer, how do we make it more relevant and create a more personalized experience for customers."

While Amazon still uses traditional TV and print advertising, it's also focusing on creating show-based experiences to stay top-of-mind. It's a strategy many streaming companies including HBO and Netflix have taken, creating multi-million dollar exhibits and experiences to bring their series to life.

Recently, Amazon Studios created the Garden of Earthly Delights at South by Southwest in Austin to promote its show "Good Omens." It also brought back the Carnegie Deli during the Upfronts in New York in connection with "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."

In July, the company will rent 60,000 square feet outside San Diego Comic-Con to promote three of its shows: "The Expanse," "Carnival Row" and "The Boys." On top of "participatory theater, stage performance and tech" exhibits during the day, the space will also host screenings and parties.

"In many ways, it's a mini-Disneyland we're creating in this space," said Dustin Callif, managing partner of Tool North America, which is Amazon Studio’s experiential agency that created the “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” deli, “Good Omens” Chattering Nuns and “Grand Tour” battle cars.

By turning its shows into can't miss events, Amazon Studios hopes fans will go home and tell their friends and family. People will also share photos and videos on Instagram and other social platforms, creating more "free" buzz online for shows. It also gets the attention of the press, whose coverage of these events could give programs an additional boost.

"While there are plenty of media that still work for us (like) television and digital marketing, experience and creating experiences for customers that allow conversations to start let us use social to scale," Benson said.

The idea is to create a cultural event to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

"It's about going beyond the binge," said Callif. "How do you keep the conversation going with fans and get them not only excited and continuing with these properties, but also to hopefully be sharing it with their friends and family to get them engaged?"

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