A new barrage is being fired by Amazon in its international battle with Netflix for the flourishing online streaming market. And yes, it features Julia Roberts and more.

Altogether, an estimated $4.5 billion (4.0 billion Euros) is being invested by the US internet shopping leader this year to stream content through its Amazon Prime Video service.

The number is likely to escalate higher as it attempts to catch up to almost $8 billion which is at present being plowed yearly into content by Netflix, the industry pioneer. Focusing on Europe is one of the most important parts of Amazon’s strategy that is still more dependent on traditional TV as compared to the United States, as it tries to build on a subscription base that has reached 100 million subscribers already in 200 countries.

Jennifer Salke, the chief of Amazon Studios told AFP that their aim is to just discover the best shows that are addictive, compelling and exciting. She also added that it is so vital for them that they create a global home for talent. It is about the world and they began with territories in Europe.

Jay Marine, the vice president of Prime Video Europe added that streaming was not a winner-take-all market as it is unlikely that the growth trend will sputter any time soon. Marine added you will see multiple winners. Customers will be using multiple services.

Budgets Matching Goals

The Romanoff’s is included in the new Amazon series lineup. It belongs to Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men. The Romanoff’s is an anthology about people who believe they are descendants of the last tsar of Russia.

In The Romanoff’s, Julia Roberts showcases her star power in a 10-episode psychological thriller, namely, Good Omens.

The tale is apocalyptic and it marches through centuries. It has been seen previously as very ambitious and expensive for a screen adaptation.

The co-author of the novel Good Omens, Neil Gaiman told AFP that co-productions between online platforms and traditional broadcasters were opening up fresh opportunities.

Amazon incorporated with the BBC for the series since it was planning to go worldwide last December. While filming one of the episodes in London in November, Gaiman told AFP that they are incredibly lucky right now. They are in a golden age of television. They are in a place where their budget can match their goals.

In the series, Briton Michael Sheen plays an angel. He feels like he is in the middle of something very big and thrilling. He told AFP that everyone is excited about the next thing to watch. There is visibly an appetite for it. It is the reason why so many things are being made and the material being really good. Also, there’s a budget for it.

Great Local Products

The focus on Europe by Amazon is not only a strategic choice. It is also a matter of necessity.

The European Union has made a quota obligatory. It requires streaming services to make sure that at least 30% of their content is local programming.

Georgia Brown, European creative division director said Amazon would uphold a significant investment in Europe. However, it did not provide any concrete figures.

A Spanish series is included in the new European lineup. It is about the country’s passionately followed La Liga football division, namely, Six Dreams.

Deutch-les-Landes, the Franco-German comedy in the meantime picks up the culture clash created whereas a company in Germany moves its staff to a sleepy village in France.

Amazon’s Prime Video, in fact, has 6 original German productions to opt from.

Marco Kreuzpaintner, the director of Beat said German films and shows were formerly largely limited to the domestic market. It was because comparatively very few people outside the country spoke the language. He added that now, one can reach the audience worldwide and show that there are great local products.