Amazon Storywriter

Online screenwriting platform
Amazon Cemetery
GENERAL INFORMATION
Category:
Entertainment
Started:
2015
BUSINESS FAILURE
Cause:
No Market Need
Closed:
2019

Description

Amazon Storywriter was an online screenwriting platform launched to provide an alternative to services like Final Draft and WriterDuet and to give Amazon the opportunity to acquire original content to be developed under the banner of Amazon Studios.

A selling point of the application was that it helps screenwriters auto-format the content by introducing 9 different structure elements into a sidebar  which the user could utilize to edit their content.

After completing the writing stage, the user could submit the screenplay for reviews to Amazon Studios, which had an open-door submission policy. If the script was selected, it would be operationalized and put under production. The writer would get the appropriate compensation under the purview of an agreement.

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Cause of Failure

In an official statement before shuttering the venture, Amazon said, “At Amazon, we are always reinventing ourselves and looking for ways to become even more efficient.”

One year before the shutdown, on 30th June 2019, Amazon asked the users to download the scripts as they would be unavailable after the shutdown.

Two main reasons can be cited for the tacit mothballing of the venture:

  • The removal of Roy Price, president of Amazon’s Entertainment and Media Development, who was rooting for the project since its inception
  • The failure to bring in high-profile and hype-creating dramas that offered a global appeal, which was the main reason Jeff Bezos supported the program initially. In all its time of operation, the Amazon Storywriter program was only able to pass a single unsolicited script for a children’s series “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street.”, which was far below initial expectations and didn’t justify the continued existence of Storywriter.

So, the platform’s failure to bring in good-enough scripts and transition them to production  was the main reason that pushed Amazon towards the decision to shut the service down.

References

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