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This is how Amazon Prime Video Beats Netflix

Amazon recently announced it will air a ‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel series and it could be a deal-breaker. If it can summon a virally powerful Amazon studio series to challenge Netflix, it will pay off. Amazon Prime Video is also working on a free version of its service with ads.

Books Coming to Life is still the Best Formula

You can start to outspend the Netflix giant, but how do you compete with such a ubiquitous habit? Well, you start with better original shows and epic brand names that everyone wants to tune into see, in short, a Game of Thrones level show. For any LOTR hard-core fan, many of us consider the rich Silmarillion books better than the original story.

Those Elves and Dwarves had swag, you know, before the Orcs and all. When you start to look into the material of the Silmarillion, you come to realize this was J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece. Die hard fans of the books already know this, but Amazon can leverage this to become as big as Game of Thrones, if it’s done right.

The show will be a multi-season commitment, and will “explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s quite a long time before the events of LOTR. Just reading the reviews of the book already has me excited.

In a new era of Netflix winning Emmy awards, Amazon has to step up its game. While the race is one for China to launch the “Netflix of China”, between Baidu’s iQiyi service and Alibaba, streaming video and live-streaming are more popular in China than in the West, so it should quickly eclipse Netflix’s long-term viability.

As for Netflix, while its brand name is ubiquitous, it’s hard seeing it competing with Amazon’s ecosystem in the long-term. Deeper pockets, superior business models and arguably better talent eventually wins.

Frodo, don’t do it…

The LOTR saga is also one of the greatest entertainment themes of all time. This production by Amazon could be the breakout (original) series it needs. Still in 2017, most people haven’t heard of Amazon Prime Video’s shows. Their IMDb ratings are just okay.

As excited I am about more Star Wars shows, I can’t imagine they will produce anything as interesting as a LOTR flashback to ancient times. When Amazon bought the global television rights to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ for a series to premiere on its streaming service Prime Video, it’s bigger than having the NFL, it’s bigger than well, anything Amazon has done in entertainment till now.

Amazon Studios have to up their content quality. I don’t care who you are, to grow your audience retention, you can’t afford not to do this. The Silmarillion is worthy, but are Amazon producers up to the challenge? I’m really just assuming this is the case, because anything else would be a huge disappointment. The Elf-Lords weave fantasy and romance like a Korean production, and who would not thrill at the possibility of seeing Moria in its full splendour at the height of its grandeur?

The Silmarillion Would be Epic

The Amazon studio said their new series will “explore new storylines” preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. I don’t know about you but I’m really tired of damn Hobbits. I’m even tired of ugly Orcs. Since “The Silmarillion,” a posthumously published prequel by Tolkien is not very well know, it’s really the perfect fit. It’s also epic beyond belief and includes some of the best short stories I’ve ever read.

I write about Amazon every week, and it needs to shift to produce shows with broader appeal, that attract new users into its Prime ecosystem, not just shoppers but folk in the attention economy. While Amazon is a Titan in public relations and brand mentions, it’s rather weak in its social play and ritualistic engagement outside of Twitch.

If you are Amazon and you mess up on the entertainment side of your business, it seriously hinders your advertizing play years and decades from now. We already know it’s Amazon that will disrupt the digital advertising duopoly Google and Facebook has on America, an unfortunate headlock of manipulation. Amazon not only needs to diversify our entertainment possibilities, it needs to save us from monopolies that allow others to hack democracy and show our kids inappropriate material on YouTube.

If Amazon can’t beat Netflix soon, Chinese equivalents will become so powerful they won’t be stopped globally. Amazon needs the Lord of the Rings, and ancient elves might save us from more abuses of the algorithm.

“The Lord of the Rings” canon was named Amazon customers’ favorite book of the millennium in 1999. Around 20 years later, we’re going to experience something even better. It will likely mark a time when Netflix will have been eclipsed. Not just by Amazon, but by a superior and more diversified market than we are privy to in 2017. We know 2019 is the year Disney will shun Netflix for its own streaming service.

The new era of entertainment is upon us.