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Amazon's first original shows are coming this month, but you can't binge watch them

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Amazon Alpha House
Amazon Alpha House

Alpha House and Betas, the first two original shows to come from Amazon, will debut later this month. Alpha House will premiere on November 15th, with Betas following a week later on November 22nd. But if you were expecting Amazon to follow Netflix's binge-friendly release format, you're in for disappointment. Three episodes of each show will be available immediately, but after that, Amazon will release just one new episode per week via Prime Instant Video — a model that essentially replicates the experience of watching on cable. The company says that an initial bundle of three episodes will help customers "try out the shows and get to know the characters." But Amazon is steering clear of Netflix's all-at-once approach in hopes that anticipation (and thus viewership numbers) will only grow over time.

That's not to say Amazon is committed to this model indefinitely. If it doesn't go over well with viewers, the company seems open to change. "We’re constantly experimenting and trying new things — and we’re eager to hear customers’ feedback," said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studio. Like Netflix, Amazon has obsessively combed through user data in hopes of putting its chips behind the right content. It's paid close attention to responses and ratings customers provided for pilots released earlier this year; Alpha House and Betas scored some of the best feedback during that phase, but Amazon faces stiff competition from its streaming rival.