Price hopes that by hearing and responding to viewer feedback, Amazon will be able to create programs that are more finely tuned to its specific audience. Shows like Betas, a comedy about friends at a startup dot-com from Oscar-nominated producer Michael London, and political comedy Alpha House, created by Doonesbury mastermind Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman, don’t answer to what Price calls “the reliable and predictive set of rules about what works in TV and what doesn’t; they’re, simply, the shows we wanted to make and the ones the audience told us they wanted to watch.”

Full seasons — usually 10 episodes — of Amazon’s original adult programs will launch this fall, with a slate of children’s programming going live early next year.

From a creative standpoint, Betas producer London, making his first foray into television, is enjoying the process. “Having that kind of creative obligation to an audience without a lot of bureaucratic entities in between telling us what they think audiences want to see or telling viewers what they should want to see is exciting to me as a storyteller,” he says.

Crowd-funding site Kickstarter has ­given contemporary audiences another way to manifest projects they want to see, such as Space Command, a new streaming sci-fi series from Marc Zicree, and a big-screen iteration of TV cult classic Veronica Mars. Through the site, fans worldwide pledged big bucks — $221,000 and $5.7 million, respectively — to bring the projects to life.

As for what television looks like around the corner, it’s anybody’s guess. But Netflix’s Sarandos believes the key to the future of television is great storytelling and simple, immediate delivery.

“The truth about why we love television is because we, as a people, love great stories,” he says. “The delivery systems may be different now, but the need remains the same. That’s exactly what the people are telling us.” 



J. RENTILLY is an award-winning journalist and Netflix binge-watcher based in Los Angeles.