Amazon’s prime goals for MGM
Future. The deal is done: Amazon is acquiring MGM Holdings for a huge $8.45 billion — the tech giant’s biggest acquisition other than Whole Foods. The deal is a steal for Amazon, which will now have access to an encyclopedia’s worth of IP that can be exploited to beef up Prime’s offerings. But if MGM’s top execs are allowed to exert the level of control they previously had at the studio, Amazon may expand its content spend in a way that lets the streamer finally compete with Netflix.
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What does one of the new kids in Hollywood plan on doing with the legacy studio?
- All about that IP. Jeff Bezos put it clear as day, saying, “The acquisition thesis here is really very simple. MGM has a vast, deep catalogue of much beloved intellectual property. And with the talent at Amazon and the talent at MGM Studio, we can reimagine and develop that IP for the 21st Century.”
- Franchise flare-up. The acquisition gives Amazon James Bond (which producers EON Productions said will stay theatrical-first), Rocky/Creed (with Michael B. Jordan directing the next installment, The Hobbit (which Amazon can now roll into its own The Lord of the Rings show), and many others.
- Stock the library. The MGM library has over 4,000 titles and 17,000 hours of programming. In the world of streaming, quantity matters.
- New, completed films. That includes Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci, George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing, and an untitled feature from Paul Thomas Anderson.
Amazon spent upwards of $11 billion last year (a 40% increase from 2019) on original programming (film, TV, and music), so the MGM acquisition is ultimately a bargain deal for the entire studio.
Pick of the pride
What’s yet to be determined is what will happen to MGM subsidiaries such as United Artists Releasing, Orion Pictures, and American International Pictures. It’s a safe bet though that MGM’s streaming service, Epix, will roll into the Prime service — which boasted 175 million viewers last year
But it’s not just movies and shows that Amazon has acquired, but a bevy of top Hollywood execs, including Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy on the film side, Michael Wright in scripted television, and Mark Burnett in unscripted. All eyes are specifically on De Luca and Abdy — veteran execs with strong talent relationships and love for original material — who may become Amazon’s equivalent to the very successful Scott Stuber over at Netflix.