Online shopping giant Amazon is buying MGM — the film and television studio behind the James Bond franchise, “Legally Blonde” and “Shark Tank” — hoping to fill the video-streaming service with more things to watch.
Amazon is paying $8.45 billion (€6.9 billion) to movie studios, making it the company’s second-largest acquisition after it bought Whole Foods grocer for $14 billion (€11.5 billion) in 2017.
The deal is the latest in the media industry that aims to boost streaming services to compete against Netflix and Disney+.
US telecoms company AT&T and Discovery announced last week that they will combine media companies, creating a force that includes HGTV, CNN, Food Network and HBO.
Amazon doesn’t say how many people watch its Prime Video service. But more than 200 million can access it because they sign up for a Prime membership, which gives them faster shipping and other perks.
Besides Prime Video, Amazon also has a free streaming service called IMDb TV, where Amazon makes money by running ads during movies and shows.
Access to movie library
Buying MGM will give Amazon access to more popular movies, shows and characters, including Rocky, RoboCop and Pink Panther. Amazon will also acquire a cable channel, Epix, through ownership of MGM.
Known for its boisterous lion logo, MGM is one of Hollywood’s oldest studios, founded in 1924 when movies were still silent. It has over 4,000 movies in its library, including classics like “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Thelma and Louise.”
Amazon said it plans to take advantage of MGM’s extensive library to create new shows and movies.
Recent productions include the reality TV shows “Shark Tank” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” as well as the upcoming James Bond film “No Time to Die” and Aretha Franklin’s biopic “Respect”.
Amazon already has its own studio but the results are mixed. Two of her shows, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Fleabag”, won Best Comedy Series Emmys. Although she won several Academy Awards, including “Sound of Metal” recently, many of her films failed to click with audiences at the box office.
Seattle-based Amazon.com declined to say when it expects to finalize the deal. But when that happens, it will make Amazon, already one of the most powerful and valuable companies in the world, even bigger.
Regulators around the world are examining Amazon’s business practices, specifically the way it looks at information from companies that sell goods on its site and uses it to create its own Amazon-branded products.
A report from the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee in October called for a possible breakup of Amazon and others, making it difficult for them to buy out other companies and imposing new rules to protect competition.
Amazon, which was founded in 1995 as an online bookstore, is now a $1.6 trillion (1.3 trillion euro) behemoth that now sells a little bit of everything.
It has a delivery business network that takes orders to people in two days or less, sells inhalers and insulin, has a cloud computing company that powers Netflix and McDonald’s apps, and has plans to send more than 3,200 satellites into space for transmission. Internet service down to earth.