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Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) isn't the only one with tricks up its red sleeves.
The streaming king is making a big splash into exclusive original content, starting with Lilyhammer this year, although the company isn't disclosing viewership numbers for the show. A few months ago, reports surfaced that there were some budget issues with its upcoming House of Cards, while the resurrection of cult favorite Arrested Development with new episodes next year will get me to reactivate my subscription.
Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) is taking notice as it continues to kick up the video-streaming competition, recently unveiling its intentions to similarly get into original content, starting with comedy and children's TV shows. Amazon's content-creation arm, Amazon Studios, will be accepting proposals from series creators. Meanwhile, Hulu has similarly been pushing its original content pretty aggressively.
The e-tailer has also been focusing heavily on other exclusive content lately, noting during the last earnings release that 16 of its top 100 e-books sold last quarter were all exclusive books. Its total Instant Video library is now up to over 17,000 titles, after launching the service early last year.
The most interesting aspect of Amazon's approach is that anyone can submit an idea, not unlike Kindle e-book self-publishing. If Amazon picks your show, the creator gets $55,000 up front and other perks such as licensing and royalties. In contrast, Netflix and Hulu are working with known Hollywood execs.
Amazon continues to invade the living room. A month ago, it added an integrated Instant Video streaming app in Sony's (NYSE: SNE ) PlayStation 3, which sits directly next to Netflix's, which has been around for about a year and a half. Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Xbox 360 has yet to get a native app for Amazon Instant Video, although it has Netflix and Hulu.
We'll see whether Amazon can successfully tap the masses for some quality exclusive content. I'm still eagerly awaiting the return of the Bluths.