Amazon Studios’ new chief has quietly been filling a pipeline of tie-ups between the studio’s original content and the wider business.
Jennifer Salke, who was named head of Amazon Studios in February, has spent her eight months in the job building relationships with other leaders and stakeholders in the wider Amazon business.
She explained that while the integrating ecommerce into the Studio output was not her “purview” – a strategy compounded by the “gigantic” and “siloed” nature of the company’s divisions – she has been scoping out intersections between her division and others.
“I love to spend my time putting my arms around the greater company,” Salke said onstage at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival. “The options are really endless, so it's been really fun putting things into development that have that intersection and starting to really build and refine bridges to those other parts of the company.”
By way of example, Salke confirmed that a forthcoming Amazon Studios scripted show with Gossip Girl actress Blake Lively would “likely have a component that ties with merchandising”. The former NBC exec has already bagged Project Runway hosts Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn for a new series, which will feature a ‘shoppable’ element in collaboration with Amazon Fashion.
Salke said her team has been in discussions with Amazon’s audio book division, Audible, as well as the Books department – the company’s original vertical.
“We have some announcements I'll soon make with big authors,” Salke revealed. “We have a lot of contact with big bestselling authors on Amazon – there's a great cadence with the company and that literary talent in general.
“We also invest in some great comic book companies and those people are all coming to my office now too, so there's a certain spirit of collaboration that's starting to find its way through the company and I'm really excited for great things to come out of it.”
Salke took over Amazon Studios from Roy Price, who resigned in 2017 after a producer publicly accused him of sexual harassment.