Amazon Prime Members About to Get a Ton of New Content – TheStreet
If you have Amazon Prime video, you are going to get a major infusion of classic films at some point.
Amazon now owns MGM’s more than 4,000 film titles and 17,000 TV episodes, including the titles “RoboCop,” “Poltergeist,” “Ben-Hur,” “The Thin Man,” “The Pink Panther,” “The Thomas Crown Affair,” “G.I. Joe” the “Rocky” series and, most prominently of all, all the James Bond movies.
At the moment, all those James Bond films are on Paramount+ (VIACA) – Get ViacomCBS Inc. Class A Report, while the classic detective series of films "The Thin Man" are on HBO Max. It remains to be seen how long that will last.
An Amazon representative has indicated that not all MGM content will be exclusive to Prime, but a whole lot of it will be, upping Amazon’s profile as the streaming wars continue.
With this new catalog, the Criterion Collection and HBO Max (T) – Get AT&T Inc. Report, long known for having the deepest and most impressive libraries in the streaming world, now have a legitimate competitor for "best site for film snobs.’
When looked at from a certain angle, Amazon’s AMZN purchase of MGM was inevitable.
Streaming services rely on splashy, buzzed about original shows to lure people to sign-up for a subscription, so they can see why everyone is talking about "Inventing Anna."
But the problem is, once people finish what they came to watch, you need to have more for them to check, or they might quit (or "churn’) out for a while.
That’s why there has been such a focus on back catalog sales in the past few years — it’s one of the reasons HBO Max made an aggressive push for the animation studio Studio Ghibli, home to classics such as "Grave of the Fireflies" and "My Neighbor Totoro."
Every time you see a "Best Streaming Services" list, Amazon Video Prime gets put on blast for not having the library of Netflix (NFLX) – Get Netflix, Inc. Report or HBO Max.
Amazon needed more content, while MGM realized it needed a new home in the new streaming era.
Greg Williams/Eon Productions via Getty Images
But when can we expect this upgrade? Well, that’s a trickier question.
Prime could choose to keep licensing the Bond films to other streaming services as a way of generating revenue. Having all the Bond films in one place is a big draw, but it’s also something plenty of streaming places will pay top dollar for.
While MGM had a celebrated legacy, this is not a case where a once great company is on its last legs and being sold for parts.
The studio recently released the hit Bond film "No Time To Die," as well as Oscar-nominated critical favorites "Licorice Pizza" and "Cyrano," as well as the instant camp classic "House of Gucci."
There’s more on the way, and the company is reportedly “excited” about MGM’s slate of upcoming films, which includes “Tomb Raider: Obsidian,” “Creed III” and “Legally Blonde 3,” and has no plans to change any release dates.
Those are sequels to popular films, so putting them in theaters makes sense, and Amazon will continue to support theatrical release for MGM’s films “on a case by case” basis, according to Deadline.
But in a climate where smaller, non-franchise films have a hard time finding an audience in theaters, will Amazon release any smaller, award-bait style films MGM may have on deck for the end of the year straight to Prime?
That’s not necessarily the worst fate for these type of films, as the 2020 Riz Ahmed-starring "Sound of Metal" and Kenneth Lonergan’s "Manchester by the Sea" were both on Prime very shortly after their theatrical debuts, and both won plenty of awards.
Neither won best picture, but that’s so far been a tough nut for streaming services to crack.
In May of last year, Amazon announced it would purchase MGM for $8.45 billion, pending regulatory approval.
Towards the end of 2020, MGM’s board chairman Kevin Ulrich, founder of Anchorage Capital, began considering the sale of the studio.
He said the company has reduced revenue, as the Covid-19 pandemic hobbled theaters and pushed people toward streaming platforms.
In the past several years, all of the major film studios, from Paramount VIAB to Fox to Disney DIS, either launched their own streaming platform or partnered with an existing one, as Sony SNE has with Netflix.
So it was inevitable that MGM was going to have to make some sort of move in this direction eventually, and Amazon was able to meet its price.
As for regulators, the European Union’s antitrust overseer ruled there was “limited” overlap between the Amazon and MGM businesses, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission declined to sue to block the merger.
Now the deal has officially been closed.
Michael Tedder is a breaking news writer for TheStreet.
via Inferse.com https://www.inferse.com
May 14, 2022 at 10:17AM