Amazon is strengthening its bond with Funny or Die (FOD). The company is financing the production of three short films created by the comedy superpower. The three projects come to the eCommerce giant through its Amazon Video Direct (AVD) program, a YouTube-like platform which gives studios, creators, and distributors different options for distributing content on Amazon’s video platforms. The agreement marks the first time that AVD is investing in the development of original, exclusive partner content. Previously, individuals and companies — including FOD — have been compensated based on viewership or how much money they generate in subscription and rental fees.
So why start spending money now? According to AVD chief Eric Orme, “Funny Or Die has become one of the top AVD partners in total streams and driving new Prime Video customers,” he told Vulture. In addition to strong viewership for the Long series, “Stephen Blatt,” Orme says FOD’s “Between Two Ferns” was one of the “most watched AVD shows on Prime Video in the U.S. over the summer.” Because of that early success, Orme says, “teaming up with FOD to produce original content is a natural extension of the existing relationship.”
The three projects coming to the service are:
- “Lovebirds,” Written and directed by Ahamed Weinberg (“Comedy Bang! Bang!” and “Quincy Jones: Burning the Light”), the short film tells the story of a lonely young man who buys a bird feeder to attract birds to the window of his studio apartment. When they don’t come, he is forced to fall in love with a woman in his apartment complex.
- “The Jury,” Written and directed by Anna Kerrigan (“Hot Seat,” web series “The Impossibilities”), the short brings viewers into a roomful of bored strangers called for jury duty awaiting their assignments, when a mysterious, foul odor unites and then threatens to divide them in a quest to find the source.
- “Soojung Dreams of Fiji,” Documentary satire written by SJ Son and directed by Hye Yun Park about first-generation Korean-American Soojung Yoon, a renowned nail salon owner, who elevates her craft to an art form — an unexpected profession that puts her into conflict with her immigrant mother.
Amazon Video Direct, which launched in 2016, provides several options to content owners who want to distribute their work. They can make their content available in Prime Video for free to Prime members; as an add-on subscription to Prime Video; for a one-time rental or a one-time purchase price; or available to all Amazon customers on an ad-supported basis. The new FOD shorts will be distributed on Prime Video globally.
Funny Or Die was founded in 2007 by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and Chris Henchy. The company’s investors include AMC Networks and CAA.