Amazon.com is showing off its brand muscle by extending its reach into the movie business.
Amazon Studios is an online business program that will crrowdsource feature films and scripts and award filmmakers with development deals. Amazon will fund $2.7 million per year, and is launching with a first-look deal with Warner Brothers.
Creating a movie-development business stretches the power of the Amazon.com name into an areas of business where Amazon would like a greater footprint--online movies, and e-publishing.
Amazon sells and rents movies online through digital downloads and streaming, but they've struggled to compete with the likes of Netflix, Redbox, Walmart and others.
Another area Amazon would like to see be more competitive is in publishing e-books through its Digital Text system, The system allows writers to upload and sell manuscripts read on its Kindle e-reader.
The first set of monthly awards will be announced around February, chosen by industry panelists that include producer Mark Gill and screenwriters Jack Epps Jr. ("Top Gun") and Mike Werb ("The Mask").