On Thursday, Amazon announced it’s bankrolling a 13-episode series about Playboy and its founder, Hugh Hefner.
Amazon says the producers of the docuseries have access to 17,000 hours of footage that has never been seen, as well as over 2,600 scrapbooks from Hefner’s personal archives. The series will trace the entire development of Hefner’s Playboy empire, and will be available through Amazon Prime.
The take is definitely going to reflect Hefner’s point of view — Amazon describes it as Hefner’s story “in his own words,” and says Hefner has been “deeply involved” in the development.
Amazon is no doubt hoping it will be able to build the kind of buzz Netflix and HBO have gotten with documentary hits like true crime series “Making a Murderer” and “The Jinx.”
Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s VP in charge of documentary acquisitions, described the viral success of documentaries on Netflix as “global water cooler” moments. It’s something that documentaries often find difficult because of the complicated and scattered nature of their distribution, Nishimura explained. Streaming services, in particular, make instant global distribution the norm rather than the exception.
This potential to get the world talking might be one reason Hefner chose a streaming service like Amazon to house his posterity doc.
“It has been a long road in finding the right partners to tell the full story of Playboy as it has unfolded over these past 63 years, and I believe we have found them in the collaborative team of Stephen David Entertainment and Amazon,” Hefner said in a statement.
Amazon is ramping up its commitment to creating original video. While it is nowhere near the 600 hours Netflix will launch in 2016, CFO Brian Olsavsky has said the company is poised to triple its originals count over the rest of the year.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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