Amazon ramps up online TV service with 6 original shows

NEW YORK (AFP) - US online giant Amazon announced plans on Monday for its own science fiction TV series and detective programme based on writings of best-selling crime writer Michael Connelly for its streaming video service.

Bosch, adapted from Connelly's novels featuring Los Angeles detective Harry Bosch, is among six new original TV series being launched, Amazon said.

The move comes with Amazon ramping up efforts to boost its online streaming service which competes with Netflix, Hulu and other services.

Amazon joined the rush to online television last year with the political comedy Alpha House and Silicon Valley sitcom Betas. In February, Amazon rolled out 10 new pilot shows in the United States and Britain and invited customers to judge which ones should go into production.

"We had a tremendous response to Amazon Studios' latest pilots - in fact, double the number of customers watched these pilots compared to our first season and they posted thousands of heartfelt reviews with pleas for us to continue these shows," said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios.

"Now the fun really begins - Amazon will be working with some of the most talented casts and creators in the business to bring six new shows exclusively to tens of millions of Prime members worldwide. These series, along with our summer kids programming, will give customers a lot of viewing choices." The online streaming service is available to members of Amazon Prime, a subscription service which also offers benefits for retail shopping.

As well as Bosch, the new programmes selected include the science fiction series The After, from X-Files creator Chris Carter.

Comedies include Mozart in the Jungle from Oscar nominee Roman Coppola, and director Jill Soloway's Transparent, about a California family "with serious boundary issues". For children, Amazon will release Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street, a live action series for ages 6-11 and Wishenpoof! for pre-schoolers.

Amazon has scheduled a news event on Wednesday in New York described as "an update to our video service", without elaborating.

Some analysts expect the company to release a new device similar to Google's Chromecast to make it easier to stream from a mobile device to large-screen television.

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