Amazon gets into the Kids TV business

Amazon put out an open call today for series creators and producers to pitch a kids show (ages 2 through 14) to go through an incubator. The selected pitch would receive $10K and development support. The developed series will secure $50K and up to 5% of merch. The series will be part of Amazon’s new Instant Video offering.

Here’s a link to the FAQs. Some interesting highlights:

If Amazon Studios produces my series, what role will I have in the production?

Your role will be determined over the course of development and at the time of production. Amazon Studios has an open door, so this is difficult to specify in advance as creators may have different skills and experience levels.

### How do rights work in the Amazon Studios Development Agreement?

 Original Properties Submitted for Private Review
If you upload an original script for private review, Amazon Studios gets three important things with respect to your work:

  • The exclusive right to buy it (and its associated rights) during the 45-day term of the option, for $200,000 if it is a movie script and for $55,000 if it is a script for an episodic series, plus other possible bonuses. The 45-day option and evaluation period restarts each time you submit a revision to the project, even if the initial 45-day period has ended. We can also extend this option for two additional 18-month periods by paying you $10,000 for each extension. If we extend the option, we will receive all of the rights we receive for properties submitted for public review, as described below.
  • The right to review it during the option term (without sharing it outside of Amazon Studios and its subcontractors).
  • The right to include the title and premise of it in a game on or off Amazon Studios that is intended to solicit audience feedback, like the “Premise War” game currently at Amazon Studios.

And you keep four things with respect to your work:

  • The right to continue to revise it until we exercise the option (if we exercise the option).
  • The right during the option term to write one novel, comic book or other book based on your work, and the right to publish that book and any other books you first published before the work was on Amazon Studios. If we exercise the option, you keep those publishing rights, but you may not write any other books based on the work.
  • If you are a stand-up comic, the right to perform stand-up comedy based on a character from your work. You may also record and distribute those performances, but only until we exercise the option.
  • The non-exclusive right to publish and perform your original songs from the work, but only if your work is not a musical.


And here’s a link to the Development Agreement.

I find the open call approach, rather than reaching out to established producers, an interesting angle. I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this development. What do you think of the “up to 5% of merch” deal? Were you approached by Amazon? Is this a fair deal for the producer?