Sunday, 24 October 2021

Amazon to buy MGM studios, bolstering streaming ambitions

WASHINGTON: Amazon has agreed to buy the storied MGM studios for $8.45 billion, the companies said yesterday, giving the US tech giant a vast library to further its ambitions in streaming. The deal bolsters Amazon Prime Video, which competes with Netflix and others in the fast-evolving market, with some 4,000 films – including the James Bond franchise – and 17,000 television shows.

“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,” said Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios.

The deal comes with Amazon experiencing surging growth in online retail and cloud computing, while making a push into entertainment as consumers turn to streaming media. It gives Amazon the fabled Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios, an iconic name in Hollywood which has been through a series of ownership changes and bankruptcy in recent years.

The tie-up marks a new twist in a fast-evolving media landscape increasingly dominated by streaming giants such as Netflix, a trend which has accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic. The deal could increase scrutiny for Amazon, one of the Big Tech firms gaining unprecedented economic power in recent years and in the crosshairs of antitrust enforcers around the world.

Amazon was sued this week by US capital city Washington for allegedly abusing its dominance of online retail Last week, telecom giant AT&T said it was spinning off its WarnerMedia division – owner of the Warner Bros studios – in a combination with Discovery, creating a new entity to focus on streaming and competing with the rapidly growing Disney+ and new entrants such as Apple TV+.

Amazon has said its Prime Video is used by some 175 million people worldwide. Its “Manchester by the Sea” in 2017 became the first film from a streaming service to be nominated for a best picture Oscar. MGM studios, which has struggled to gain box office hits in recent years, is not connected to the MGM Resorts group which owns hotels and casinos around the world.

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