Amazon bought an almost 100 years old MOVIE STUDIO, and all their IP, for $8.5 billion dollars. So I had some thoughts on what they get with that purchase.
Short answer: CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT.
Lots of folks in the past subscribed to Amazon Prime strictly for the free shipping. When I signed up for Amazon Prime, that was the primary reason. Nowadays, I try to buy less from them and be more supportive of small businesses on eBay rather than Amazon, but free shipping is now something that’s expected from many consumers because everyone is offering it. You may have to spend a certain amount with some vendors, but many others offer it with your first order. So what was once a perk is now the norm.
So Amazon has begun shifting it’s focus. Amazon Prime is starting to really lean into content. They’ve spent a lot of money on original content the last few years. Some of it is good, some not. But with the MGM merger, what Amazon gets thousands of hours of legacy content they can add to Prime. Not just movies, but TV shows as well.
Look at this list of MGM Television programs. This is content that goes all the way back to 1955. That’s not just thousands of hours. It’s more like MILLIONS of hours of digital content. So that’s the good news in this deal. But there is potentially some bad news too. Brace yourselves for the remakes and reboots of old MGM intellectual properties. Here’s a short list of MGM “media” I think Amazon is licking their chops at rebooting/recreating now that they own it:
– Logan’s Run
– The Pink Panther
– Basic Instinct
– James Bond
And much more. Don’t expect new movies. Nope. They will twist these properties, and others, to make long-form Amazon Prime TV shows out of them. Stretch that content out. But don’t despair. Pick up copies of the originals. Own that physical media and let Amazon spend their money. After all, we already have seen that Amazon is willing to spend HUNDREDS of MILLIONS on a new Lord of the Rings Amazon series that is already starting to look to be super-woke.
I think we can continue to expect Big Tech to take advantage of declining Hollywood fortunes very soon. If you recall, Amazon took full advantage of Hollywood’s problems before. Last year they bought an unreleased Paramount movie starring Chris Pratt, The Tomorrow War. It’s coming out in July. As a Prime exclusive. But there are bigger films and characters in this deal. For instance, James Bond.
Amazon will NOT own James Bond. But technically, they’ll own half of the movie franchise. The other half of the Bond movies are owned by EON Productions. Which is basically Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli (the daughter of original producer Cubby). But I’m convinced that Amazon will want to do a Bond Cinematic Universe. This means we can expect:
A Moneypenny solo movie.
A Felix Leiter film.
A prequel origin movie of Goldfinger
You get the gist. I can guarantee you that EVERYTHING is being considered right now. And, of course, much-delayed No time to Die WILL finally come out.
In the end, I believe one of the main reasons MGM sought a buyer is cash flow. They’ve been paying interest EVERY DAY on the cost of that unreleased Bond film. Will it be an “exclusive” to Prime members for a week before release? Maybe, but not if EON has anything to say about it.
I expect we are going to see a lot mergers and acquisitions in Hollywood in the next year because the Hollywood model relies on blockbuster billion dollar movies. Were there any in 2020? No. Will there be any in 2021? Again, no. So these studios are in trouble and streaming revenue will not replace the billions from ticket sales that aren’t happening. This will lead to more mergers and acquisitions.
Yes, the Amazon/MGM acquisition is a big one, but I think the biggest is yet to come. Think Apple, Facebook, and Google. They’re sitting on LOTS of cash.
Apple: 195 billion.
Facebook: 64 billion.
Google: 135 billion.
So if I were to speculate on the next big Hollywood mergers, I would think that Viacom CBS will merge with Comcast. Or Comcast will gobble up Sony. And I am looking for Disney to buy out Comcast’s remaining stake in Hulu if this happens. I’d love to hear what you think. Sound off in the comments. Speculation can fun, especially when it’s not your money.