Woke Amazon Scraps Audience Scores After Discovering What TV Viewers Actually Like: Report


A new report from The Hollywood Reporter has painted a fascinating picture about the inner workings of Amazon Studios, including one curious discovery about what the television-viewing audience actually wants to watch — and an even more curious response to that discovery.

The long-form report, penned by the Reporter’s Kim Masters, generally paints the multi-billion dollar conglomerate as one willing to take big chances on shows despite a general lack of creative direction.

Per the report, “numerous sources say they cannot discern what kind of material (Amazon Studios chief Jennifer) Salke and head of television Vernon Sanders want to make.”

“There’s no vision for what an Amazon Prime show is. You can’t say, ‘They stand for this kind of storytelling.’ It’s completely random what they make and how they make it,” an unnamed, experienced showrunner told The Reporter.

A different showrunner pointed out that, whatever the reason for this creative quagmire, Amazon clearly has “the resources” to fix this issue.

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Salke, for her part, clearly doesn’t think this is an issue at all.

“I have never been one to say [to the creative community] ‘We need five action franchise shows and three workplace situation comedies.’ That’s the kiss of death,” Salke told The Reporter. “You don’t reverse-engineer true creative vision. We are programming for over 250 million households across the entire globe. We would say we have a big, broad audience, and we are looking for content that entertains the four quadrants.”

Those “four quadrants,” according to The Reporter, are male viewers, female viewers, viewers under 35 and viewers over 35.

But whereas Salke clearly trusts her numerous showrunners to do their thing, she apparently doesn’t put the same level of trust into the audience to know what they actually want.

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According to The Reporter, Amazon was actually implementing an audience score system to gauge what viewers wanted.

What that data purportedly found, however, did not align with what Amazon, a left-leaning conglomerate, likely wanted to see.

The “data showed audiences found queer stories off-putting and suggested downplaying those themes in materials promoting” various shows. In this case, Masters was talking about the drama surrounding a marketing meeting for “A League of Their Own.”

Multiple, unnamed sources also told The Reporter that the audience scores “often ranked broad series featuring straight, white male leads above all others.”

“A League of Their Own” co-creator Will Graham, who was “greatly concerned about bias built into Amazon’s system for evaluating shows,” made such a stink about audiences largely preferring heterosexual protagonists that Amazon executives reportedly took those grievances to heart and dropped the entire audience score system.

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“All this perpetuation of white guys with guns — it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy,” one Amazon veteran told The Reporter.

“Relying on data is soul crushing … There’s never, ‘I know the testing wasn’t that great, but I believe in this,'” another veteran told the outlet.

Curiously, the larger report frames Sanders as someone woefully out of touch with audiences — instead relying too much on data and numbers and focus group feedback.

And yet, when the data is so clearly telling you, Amazon Studios, what the audience wants to watch, and your response is to just scrap audience scores altogether? That seems like a bad business decision, even with Jeff Bezos’s deep pockets financing the whole operation.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
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Topics of Expertise
Sports, Entertainment, Science/Tech