Story of Roy Price: Biography

Roy Price is a Hollywood Executive who has made his mark in the entertainment industry. From movies, videos, and animation, Price has had quite a unique career. Roy Price was able to make a name for himself in several different entertainment sectors. His family connections along with his education and creativity put him in a position for success in various business endeavors. Price’s mom, Katherine Crawford, was an actress who appeared on the 1970’s Seattle-set show Here Come the Brides. His dad, Frank Price, ran Columbia and Universal studios, and his maternal grandpa, Roy Huggins, created and produced breakthrough TV shows like The Fugitive, The Rockford Files, and Maverick. Roy Price has worked at Disney as VP of Creative Affairs, developed Amazon Video and Amazon Studio, divisions of Amazon Inc, and has worked as a consultant in the entertainment industry.

According to Wikipedia, Roy Price was born July 21, 1967, in Los Angeles, California, USA. His parents were well known Hollywood elite. His father, Frank Price, former chairman of Columbia Pictures and Universal Pictures, and Katherine Crawford, making him a familiar with Hollywood from a very young age. Roy Price was academically challenged from a young age and continued to be a high achiever in the academic realm as he continued his studies. His impressive educational background would serve him well as he climbed the Hollywood corporate ladder. His formal academic training combined with his exposure to Hollywood elite would give him a competitive edge in an evolving entertainment industry where tech would soon have a huge influence on how individuals consumed entertainment.

What’s refreshing about Price is that while he has been successful in the cutthroat realm of Hollywood, he had the education and family connections to give him a competitive edge in the business. Price attended an ivy league college, and even went on to get his law degree. Price attended boarding school across the country away from the glitz and glam of Hollywood. He attended the highly praised Phillip Academy Andover, an exclusive boarding school north of Boston. While Price showed talent in math and physics, he went on to study English and Literature at Harvard University. He then earned his Law Degree at the University of Southern California. Price was quite intentional about the education choices he made. He said when “he looked at the biggest difference makers, aside from filmmakers, and determined that they fell into two camps: college dropouts, such as Jeffrey Katzenberg and Barry Diller, or lawyers. At that time, I had already graduated from college, so it was too late not to graduate from college,” Price said. “So, it was clear I had to go to law school.” Ironically, Price never used that law degree, rather followed the family legacy and went to work in entertainment. Roy Price’s career was not a linear path of a typical Hollywood executive.

Starting out as a newbie with a strong family name and impressive educational background, his first job in Hollywood was working as a set assistant; to be specific “third assistant camera” during the shooting of “Return to the Blue Lagoon,” a humble beginning to his later career success. After his short stint of film assistance, he went a different route, but for a very intentional reason. For two years he worked as a Financial Analyst at Allen &Co. To get exposure to the finance part of the business. His pattern of being prepared with a law degree and wanting a holistic understanding of the film world would make Price a very desirable candidate for future entertainment jobs. For example, Price landed a job at Disney as the VP of Creative Affairs and made a good name for himself during his time there. Favorites that he developed or produced included Disney animation favorites like Recess, Pepper Ann, Hercules, Timon & Pumba, and The Weekenders. Also, several animated films and direct to videos including Recess: School’s Out, and Tarzan.

Once again, after spending adequate time at Disney working in entertainment, Price stepped into a different work of global management consulting. Price took a job a McKinsey, a firm that serves a broad mix of private, public, and social sector institutions. While in this position, he worked with media companies working primarily within home video, international television, and U.S film and video distribution. Price was learning about how people consume their entertainment, and this information would be a stepping stone towards his time developing Amazon Prime.
From 2003 to 2004 Price ran Price Entertainment and acted as a business consultant to media companies. Clients included a national broadcast television network, a primary Los Angeles talent agency, and others. His father, Frank Price originally founded the company. And as Roy Prices career was like winding river, another change was up ahead the bend, into a world much different than that of Hollywood. He bounced around from the entertainment to the business side of things giving himself a well-rounded education and glimpse into each world. Bringing the two worlds together made him a valuable asset.

Price went from working at Price Entertainment in Hollywood to joining the Tech world in Seattle. From Hollywood sets and he took on a job at Amazon to develop its streaming service, Amazon Prime. With Price’s exceptional set of skills and experience, he was the ideal candidate for the job. And it was a pretty big undertaking. With his background in film, animation, shows, finance, law, and storytelling, he rolled up his sleeves and joined the tech world to turn Amazon into the storytelling and entertainment machine it is today.

Price was a key player to take Amazon Video and be one of the leaders through its progression to Amazon Prime. Initially, Price worked on Amazon Video on Demand working as a group product manager and director. He secured a deal with TIVO helping Amazon become accessible on the consumer television. He launched Amazon Video in 2008 and Amazon Studios in 2010. From 2009–2014, Price also worked as Director of Amazon Video on Demand. Initially, people were very critical of the idea of Amazon Studios. Hollywood productions are quite calculating and have a bunch of random unfiltered scripts flooding into the studio had not been done before. But with great risk comes great reward. The operation, which plans to reward winning filmmakers and screenwriters with $2.7 million toward developing movies under a first-look deal with Warner Bros.

The naysayers and critics were proved wrong, but it took a few years to get the ball rolling on the project. Amazon Studios original content had very positive feedback. Alpha House earned some positive feedback, but no award. Amazon stepped up their game in Amazon Studios’ second year when it swiped five Emmy Awards to Netflix’s four. Amazon’s first hits which included Transparent, a noble, exquisitely trendy comedy-drama about a transsexual dad, and Mozart in the Jungle, about a madcap orchestra conductor and a young oboist, won four Golden Globes in the past two years. Amazon can take great risks and get a comfortable feel for what stories grip consumers in an authentic and new way. The unique creative process of Amazon Studios has allowed talented writers to combine with discerning audiences to give people something that the bureaucracy of Hollywood wouldn’t take the risk on. Viewers know after a while when they are watching variations of the same show. With Netflix on the rise at the same time as Amazon, people were becoming even more particular about what they were going to watch. No longer content with flipping through traditional cable, online streaming service had to bring their A game. Price understands what people want. “You’ve got to make it interesting and worthwhile and buzzworthy to stand out in a crowded market,” said Price. “What you’re looking for is that ambitious, completely addictive, binge-worthy show that’s in the top 20 or 10 — or one — that people are talking about. In 1977, you could get a lot out of a show that simply retained the audience of a previous show. But today, it’s on demand — they have to demand it. So, you’ve got to earn that.”

From 2014–2017, Price was head of Amazon Studios and VP for Prime Video. Amazon is well on its way to world domination. And knowing consumer habits can put them ahead of the learning curve of in terms of what appeals to their audience base. Streaming services are about to learn patterns of consumer behavior with algorithms. This information can also tell them what products they would be interested in. The merging of tech and Hollywood is giving the old way of entertainment a run for its money. Traditional cable gives you way more than is necessary and maybe only a little bit of what you want on a limited schedule. Amazon can give you what you want and continue to learn and better suite your entertainment preferences.

CEO of Amazon Bezos and is playing a strategic game. Amazon has insight into consumer behavior in a way that other streaming services don’t. Their goal is to capture audiences for years, not just for a fleeting period. “Their strong belief is the more time you spend in the Amazon ecosystem, the more money you spend on Amazon,” media analyst Richard Greenfield told The Los Angeles Times. “The key for Amazon is how do they get you to spend more time in that ecosystem — and it’s with having a deep catalog of movies, TV, and music.” The company of Amazon is known for its hardworking, bold, and creative executives. Bezos hires risk takers and people who can think ‘what could be.’ Streaming is a competitive service. With other companies like Netflix and Hulu also making their mark and gaining popularity, there is increasing pressure to stand out to consumers. You have to offer something that the others can’t.

With all success, hard work, some serendipity, and bringing together the right people with the right expertise, means that innovative and creative ventures can be successful. Luckily for Amazon, Roy Price was the right man for the job of getting that project to where it stands today. If you are a consumer who appreciates original streaming shows/movies or a favorite Disney channel Cartoon, you can thank the creative minds of entertainment industry leaders like Roy Price. Hollywood can often be an unforgiving world. Full of critics and people who are creatives, yet often unable to take creative risks, Amazon Prime has been an outlet for Roy Price to combine the technology world with the establishment of Hollywood, where nowadays a risky producing show is almost unheard of because most productions are calculated and budgeted. And as consumers continue to feel the inauthentic productions, they continue to look for a storytelling experience that will open their eyes to something new. As the world of entertainment continues to evolve, we can hope for more executives that will be willing to take these risks.

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