Content is the engine of the streaming economy. Recognising this, the streamers have been going through a dizzying series of acquisitions and mergers. The latest to do so is tech giant Amazon which has finally signed on the dotted line to buy up Hollywood studio MGM for $8.45 billion. This is its second-largest acquisition after it bought Whole Foods for nearly $14 billion in 2017. For the last week or so, speculation was running rife that a deal between the two was on the cards.
MGM has real gems under its brand that movie lovers have voraciously consumed across the world. The studio is behind classics such as Gone with the Wind and Rocky, the famous Bond franchise, Singin’ in the Rain, 12 Angry Men. Its library also includes Tomb Raider, The Magnificent Seven, The Pink Panther and popular reality TV shows like The Voice and Shark Tank.
“The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalogue that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team,” Amazon Studios and Prime Video SVP Mike Hopkins.
Amazon has 200 million Prime members worldwide with access to its video service, chief executive Jeff Bezos revealed recently. “As Prime Video turns 10, over 175 million Prime members have streamed shows and movies in the past year, and streaming hours are up more than 70 per cent year over year,” he later said in April.
Prime members who watch video have higher free trial conversion rates, higher renewal rates, and higher overall engagement. The company has been ramping up its spend on content , to stay competitive with the fare being churned out by Netflix and Disney and now with the merged Discovery+Warner Media juggernaut.
“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,” MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich said in a statement.
MGM has one of the industry’s most exciting upcoming film slates, including House of Gucci, No Time to Die, Respect, The Addams Family 2, and the untitled Paul Thomas Anderson film. Its catalogue also includes 17,000 TV shows, including thousands of fan favourites like The Handmaid’s Tale, Fargo, and Vikings. Collectively, MGM has won more than 180 Academy Awards and 100 Emmys.