×

MipTV: Amazon’s Roy Price on ‘Grand Tour’s’ Cost, Shows That Amazon Is Looking For

Digital service offers world premiere sneak peek at MipTV of action drama ‘Jack Ryan’

CANNES, France – Amazon’s Roy Price, one of the execs who seemingly holds the keys to entertainment’s future, strode onstage at MipTV on Monday dressed in a smart black biker’s jacket, black jeans and short cowboy boots.

His distinctive sartorial taste, closer to that of a creative than an executive, is already known. So was much of what Price said in his MipTV keynote address, a half-hour Q&A where the freshest element proved to be extracts from the upcoming hour-long action series “Jack Ryan,” showing author Tom Clancy’s character as a kick-ass young operative.

Still to be answered is exactly how Amazon’s global strategy will play out, especially against its biggest competitor in the streaming world.

“The key question is how Amazon Prime Video positions itself against Netflix: Will it pursue the platform strategy globally, bringing on more third-party content like Starz, HBO, as it does in the U.S., or the network strategy, becoming a premium channel, which is clearly the way Netflix is headed?” Ampere Analysis’ Guy Bisson said.

The platform strategy would benefit Amazon Web Services as the content fulfillment of platform partners is handled in the cloud by AWS, Bisson added.

Price, the head of Amazon Studios, passed on a question as to how much Amazon would be raising its content budget, in originals or acquisitions, from the estimated $3 billion in 2016. He was clear, however, about the metrics by which Amazon judged a show’s success: “We certainly pay attention to whether subscribers are engaging with the show and is it influencing people to stay subscribed, influencing people on the free trial to convert and become subscribers, or getting people into the trial.”

Price added: “If people are engaged with Amazon Prime Video, they tend to see the broad value and range of services and engage. If we get them there, that’s a win.”

The top two shows in most of Amazon’s 240 countries are usually automotive program “Grand Tour” and counterfactual drama “The Man in the High Castle.” “Those shows are bringing in and keeping customers and that’s a big area of focus,” Price said, defending “Grand Tour’s” unspecified but controversially large budget, saying the show is “actually efficient and good economics.”

Price also confirmed that Amazon will dive into local production, though he didn’t reveal any timetable or production volume targets.

Shows like “Grand Tour” have an international fan base, “but all customers are local. So you have to pursue a multi-local strategy where you seek out the great artists in each territory,” Price said, citing Amazon’s first German TV series, “You Are Wanted,” which posted Amazon’s biggest opening ever in Germany.

Driving engagement, Amazon’s prime focus is “the crème de la crème, the top five-to-ten shows in the world people are talking about in real life at lunch.” To get them, “you’ve got to go big-time and get people who do things differently and bring something fresh and different,” he said.

“Bigger doesn’t have to be dragons and spaceships,” Price added. “Maybe it’s being more real and contemporary and fresh, or maybe it’s bigger and more cinematic in 4k and HDR.”

“Jack Ryan,” produced by Paramount TV and Skydance Television, is currently in production and has shot in Tokyo, India, Canary Islands, Europe, and the U.S. “It’s got to the point where you can’t possibly visit all the sets, so hopefully everyone is working today,” Price joked.

In the show, Ryan (John Krasinski) is a young, strapping, desk-bound CIA analyst who is already adept at combat. In one scene screened at MipTV, Ryan does serious damage to a wall with an assailant’s head. He studies the communication patterns of a terrorism suspect, who Ryan realizes is on track to raise $9 million in eight days. “The whole 9/11 operation cost just $500,000. What do you think he can do with 2o times that money?” he tells a colleague.

Desperate to shut down the terrorist before he wreaks global damage, the CIA takes Ryan off his desk job and puts him in the line of fire. Kick-ass and kinetic, with a thundering soundtrack, “Jack Ryan” will be released on Amazon Prime Video probably in the first quarter of next year, Price said.

More TV

  • Jason Davis

    Jason Davis, Voice Actor on Disney Channel's 'Recess,' Dies at 35

    Jason Davis, a voice actor on the Disney Channel show “Recess,” died in Los Angeles on Sunday. He was 35. “I am so heartbroken to share the saddest news of my life that my son Jason Davis passed away this morning in Los Angeles. Jason had a true heart of gold with such a zest [...]

  • Caroline Flack

    'Love Island’ Pulled For Second Night After Former Host Caroline Flack’s Death

    For a second consecutive night, ‘Love Island’ will not air on U.K. broadcaster ITV2 following the death of former host Caroline Flack, Variety has confirmed. An ITV spokesman said: “Many people at ITV knew Caroline well and held her in great affection. All of us are absolutely devastated at this tragic news.” “After careful consultation between [...]

  • Caroline Flack

    Caroline Flack's Death Prompts U.K. Petition Demanding Media Inquiry

    A petition calling on the U.K. government to launch an inquiry into British media coverage of public figures has garnered close to 206,000 signatures. The death of former “Love Island” host Caroline Flack, one of the country’s most popular TV personalities, spurred the initiative, which asks government to investigate the press following “the maltreatment of [...]

  • Caroline Flack

    'Love Island' Host's Shock Death Revives Concerns Around Mental Health, Media Scrutiny

    The death of popular “Love Island” host Caroline Flack has sent shockwaves across the U.K. and again raised long-running concerns about broadcaster ITV’s support of cast members on the hit reality competition as well as the country’s intense media scrutiny of public figures. Flack, one of the U.K.’s most recognizable reality hosts, was found dead [...]

  • Caroline Flack'ITV Palooza!', Royal Festival Hall,

    Caroline Flack, Former 'Love Island' Host, Dies at 40

    Caroline Flack, the former host of the U.K. reality competition, “Love Island,” has died. She was 40. “Everybody at ‘Love Island’ and ITV is shocked and saddened by this desperately sad news. Caroline was a much loved member of the ‘Love Island’ team and our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends,” [...]

  • Lynn Cohen

    Lynn Cohen, Magda on 'Sex and the City,' Dies at 86

    Lynn Cohen, a veteran stage and screen actor who played Magda on “Sex and the City,” died Friday. She was 86. Magda was Miranda Hobbe’s (Cynthia Nixon) housekeeper and eventually her nanny, and Cohen also appeared in both film adaptations of the show. She talked to Cosmopolitan about her role in 2018. “It showed a [...]

  • 'Outlander's' Sophie Skelton on Brianna's PTSD,

    'Outlander's' Sophie Skelton on Brianna's PTSD, Motherhood in Season 5 (SPOILERS)

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you haven’t yet watched the Season 5 premiere of “Outlander,” entitled “The Fiery Cross,” streaming now on the Starz app. In the Season 5 premiere of “Outlander,” Brianna (Sophie Skelton) gets confirmation of something viewers have suspected since the Season 4 finale — that her rapist, Stephen Bonnet (Ed [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content