The big media consolidation continues -- days after rumors swirled around Amazon’s acquisition of MGM, the online massive retailer confirmed today that it will be acquiring the nearly 100-year-old studio for a cool $8.45 billion.
The deal is another big step to bolster Amazon’s fight in the streaming wars, adding some 4,000 films. The list includes the "James Bond" and "Rocky" series and classics ranging from "Fargo" to "Robocop" to "Silence of the Lambs." Also included are more than 17,000 TV shows. Once the deal closes, the short-term impact will be unfettered access for Amazon's Prime Video platform, giving the service a leg up against rivals like Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max.
As we've seen with the launch of studio streaming platforms like Disney+, the deal will also likely result in that content being pulled from competing services, once existing contracts end. “The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team,” Amazon Studios/Prime Video SVP Mike Hopkins said in a release. “It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.”
Amazon also says it will be making efforts to preserve older films. The press material includes all of the standard language you would expect about marrying the old with the new. Here's MGM Board Chairman Kevin Ulrich: “I am very proud that MGM’s Lion, which has long evoked the Golden Age of Hollywood, will continue its storied history, and the idea born from the creation of United Artists lives on in a way the founders originally intended, driven by the talent and their vision. The opportunity to align MGM’s storied history with Amazon is an inspiring combination.”
Amazon has, of course, already been making an aggressive push into original content through its own production studio and distribution. On the film side, it has produced notable titles like "Manchester By the Sea," which nabbed a screenwriting Oscar, and its list of shows includes "Transparent." The company is also embarking on a massive (and massively expensive) series based on "Lord of Rings."
While Amazon has thrived with massive coffers, MGM has had a more difficult 21st century. In 2010, the studio filed for a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy after switching hands several times. The studio was reorganized and its creditors took control.
The deal is just the latest in a flurry of media consolidation, including Disney/Fox, Viacom/CBS and AT&T/Time Warner. As ever with these massive deals, the acquisition is pending all sorts of regulator scrutiny.