Amazon animation boss talks rights flexibility & building “bigger worlds”

The Boys Presents: Diabolical

Amazon Studios is looking to create franchises with its animation content and said that while it can be flexible on rights, it would “prefer” exclusivity.

Speaking at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France, Melissa Wolfe, head of animation and family programming at Amazon’s Prime Video service, revealed that: “We’re looking for everything under the sun and moon that is appealing probably to a 16-and-up audience at the moment.”

Wolfe had no specific genre demands to share, but highlighted the success of existing animation on Prime Video such as The Boys animated anthology spin-off The Boys Presents: Diabolical and explained how Amazon would seek to make the most of its IP.

“The goal for our studio is not to just to make one-off series, put them up and have them kind of hang out on our service, it’s really to create franchises, to create bigger worlds.”

Wolfe said that a property can “branch out” from a series into other areas, via the entertainment and retail giant’s other services, such as Amazon Games, Twitch, Audible and comics app Comixology.

“If you have a property or an idea that’s a graphic novel right now, that’s something that’s incredibly exciting to us, because you have a visual story that you’ve already put together. Maybe Comixology would be excited about that in one way and we could then work with you to develop the story idea for a series.”

Wolfe added that when it comes to rights Amazon “can be flexible, but we prefer to have exclusivity.”

She explained: “It is important to us to have exclusivity if we are putting in 100% of the budget and if we’re developing it, producing it, we would want to have global rights and the opportunity to have that living on our service and not be anywhere else

“However, that being said, if there are producers that have financing from a broadcaster in the EU or somewhere else, if it needs to live on a specific broadcaster as well as have a window in streaming, we can look at that as an acquisition – or putting those requirements into whatever we’re doing on the Amazon side.”

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