Amazon acquired Hollywood’s century-old Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Studios for $8.45 billion, after they entered into a “definitive merger agreement”. As per the agreement, “Amazon will help preserve MGM’s heritage and catalog of films and provide customers with greater access to these existing works”.
However, it is unclear if Amazon would be investing in MGM’s content production as well.
A move that is expected to “help bolster Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service” was reportedly mediated by Amazon Studios and Prime Video’s vice president Mike Hopkins, who directly contacted MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich, “whose anchorage capital is a major MGM shareholder” as per Variety.
In December 2020, Variety reported that the sale was initiated by MGM with the belief that the amount of its content with big banners under its umbrella, “would be desirable to companies looking to expand their streaming sectors”.
MGM Studios has collectively won more than 180 Academy Awards and 100 Emmy Awards.
Acquiring rights to studios and other telecommunications systems have become streaming giants’ new trend to expand their global footprint and increase their subscriber base. OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have been buying rights to individual films or series. Disney+’s collaboration with Star in India and other countries helped expand its subscriber base owing to access to sports channels, originals, and daily soaps apart from its Marvel and Disney originals, unlike its counterparts that bank on originals and direct-to-digital releases of films.
Media and telecommunication companies are collaborating to combine their content libraries and create new ones. The recent merger includes AT&T and Discovery that announced a new streaming platform this month, as another way to expand their global footprint.
Amazon has more than 200 million Prime members worldwide, as per Variety. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos recently told investors that 175 million of the 200 million subscribers streamed Prime Video content in 2020.
Tapping into the reserves of MGM include 4,000 film titles such as James Bond, Hobbit, Rocky/Creed, RoboCop and Pink Panther franchises, as well as movies like The Silence of the Lambs, The Magnificent Seven and Four Weddings and a Funeral, while the MGM TV library includes approximately 17,000 episodes of programming, including Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe, Vikings, Fargo, The Handmaid’s Tale, Get Shorty, Condor, Fame, American Gladiators, Teen Wolf and In the Heat of the Night. Unscripted shows in its portfolio include The Voice, Survivor, Shark Tank, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and The Hills.