Proof of Netflix's power can be found in the numbers, at least partly. Though it refuses to release audience data about viewership, a recent report from the Internet monitoring firm Sandvine found that Netflix represents more than a third of all downstream traffic in North America.
Amazon Studios realizes it has to distinguish itself to grow its audience.
"We're focused on breaking down the walls of Hollywood," says Lewis. "Thanks to our open submission policy anybody in the world can get a script to Amazon development."
That may be, but the studio's first two series didn't come to Amazon through the open submission process. "Alpha House," about a group of Republican senators rooming together in a house in Washington, D.C., is the work of Trudeau. And "Betas" was pitched by London ("Sideways") and its young writer-creators Evan Endicott and Josh Stoddard.
Amazon helped develop "Betas," paying particular attention to the way the tech components of the show were executed. Amazon is one of the original tech giants, so this is territory the company knows well. Beyond that, however, London says that the studio gave them resources on par with any major television production and left them alone creatively.
Even the user rating system proved palatable.
"The same people who rank vacuum cleaners or aquariums are the same people that rank our show," says London. "At first it felt alienating and strange, but now I like those feedback lists on Amazon. Usually in the TV world you're subject to the test-group vagaries of 30 people in a room in Vegas. This may have felt like a beauty contest, but at least it was a public beauty contest — we could get up in the middle of the night and read 78 comments on our show."