In the case of Netflix, the company’s “episode dump” approach more or less precludes it. “The entire series of a show, we put them all up on Netflix at the same time, so it’s already done. We definitely let the creators of the show be as creative as they can be. We think we give them more creative opportunity on Netflix than they would get if they were at a regular network,” he says, adding that they don’t give notes or demand specific episode lengths to make room for advertising in a certain timeslot. “We try to hire the best and the brightest when it comes to creating a show and we let them do their jobs.”
And although they may be soliciting feedback on the pilots, Amazon’s Price says that’s where that type of collaboration ends. If, as the shows progress, there are complaints about story lines or specific requests for what viewers would like to see in the comments sections, they won’t change the course of a show.
“I think audiences can be relied on to indicate whether a show is working or not, and that’s what this system does best: tell you whether something is working,” says Price. “Trying to get creative suggestions, I think, is a different proposal. And the right way to think about it is if hundreds of thousands of people watch your show and say they love it, that’s great. And if they don’t love it, then you might want to think about how to evolve your show. But I’m not sure that people will always be able to come up with necessarily the right solution.”
Sarah Rodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.