The biggest name in ecommerce is poised to purchase one of the most legendary names in cinema to bolster further its campaign in the streaming media sector – an industry currently dominated by Netflix and Disney.
In a press announcement made last May 26th, Amazon execs stated that they had inked a deal with legendary Hollywood studio MGM for a cool $8.45 billion.
Having MGM within its ranks gives Amazon access to one of the most diverse and stellar catalogs in the global film industry, housing nearly a century of movie history through over 4,000 cinematic treasures.
The roster includes the entire James Bond franchise and Academy Award-winning masterpieces like Mutiny on the Bounty, Ben-Hur, Gigi, and the legendary fantasy film The Wizard of Oz.
The MGM catalog also has 17,000 television shows, including Fargo and the critically-acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale. In which case, the move is seen as especially beneficial to Amazon’s media production arm, Amazon Studios, which primarily focuses on episodic content for television.
Joining a competitive sector
MGM has long been jonesing to join the streaming media industry as a content provider, seeking to cash in on what has become one of the most lucrative segments of the global entertainment industry.
The studio began exploring the possibility of tying up with Amazon as early as December of last year.
The announcement is further proof that the streaming services sector isn’t just growing by leaps and bounds but is also becoming highly competitive. Proof of this can be seen in how industry leader Netflix missed out on its subscriber goals for Q2-2021, primarily because it now shares the space with the likes of Disney+ and its niche channels, as well as Hulu and HBO Go.
Not without challenges
Amazon’s impending purchase is one of the largest deals of its kind in recent memory. However, the sheer size of the acquisition also means that the deal will also be put under the scrutiny of antitrust regulators. This isn’t surprising, given the recent spate of lawsuits involving the ecommerce and cloud services giant.
Last May 25th, the Washington DC Attorney-General’s office hit Amazon with an antitrust lawsuit that claimed it was abusing its power as an industrial monopoly regarding third-party sales. Amazon has also been ruthless when it comes to the competition, banking on its size and influence to crush much smaller players.
Some experts warn that this massive merger will give the already intimidating industry titan immense – and even unfair – advantages when pitching and streaming its own content against that of any competitor studio.
Indeed, industry watchers opine that the move will give Amazon unprecedented – and unwarranted – leverage when it comes to influencing the minds and choices of audiences across the globe.
Some have even gone so far as to accuse the company slyly referred to as “the favorite villain of the left” of lording it over the entertainment industry. Not only has it influenced what the world can buy, but it will soon be in a position to dictate what it ought to watch.