Another massive media merger just hit the entertainment industry on Wednesday. Amazon announced that it had acquired MGM, giving it access to some of the most iconic Hollywood films and franchises, including the James Bond series. The deal may mean that fans can watch MGM movies more easily on Amazon Prime's streaming platform, but it also leaves fewer places for creators and actors to find work.
The MGM acquisition was valued at $8.45 billion, according to a report by CNN. It gives Amazon access to the entire library of intellectual property under MGM's control, including over 4,000 films and 17,000 TV shows. Amazon will be able to distribute these on its Amazon Video streaming platform at its discretion or license them to other outlets. Amazon Studios head Mike Hopkins told reporters that plans are already in motion to utilize that catalog in new ways while developing new productions to suit existing fans.
"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. It's very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling," he said. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos added that Amazon is "really excited about MGM." Speaking to shareholders on Wednesday, he highlighted the value it adds to Amazon as a whole.
"The acquisitions thesis here is really very simple: MGM has a vast, deep catalog of much-beloved intellectual property, and with the talented people at MGM and the talented people at Amazon Studios, we can reimagine and develop that IP for the 21st century," Bezos said.
Both MGM and Amazon acknowledged that the acquisition "is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions." At this point, streaming fans who follow the news are very familiar with big mergers of this kind and recognize that it is not in the best interest of creators, which could mean that it's not in the best interest of the stories themselves down the line.
"So, a s—ty James Bond Amazon series in the vein of Jim Halpert and the Wire detective doing Jack Ryan adventures? Not excited about this," one person commented on Twitter. Another added: "I'm not a fan of Amazon swallowing up MGM, but then I'm also not a fan of how MGM has neglected some of its best properties, namely the Stargate franchise."
As the acquisition is still pending, it hasn't impacted the availability of MGM properties on Amazon Video just yet. However, many are currently available either for free with a subscription or to rent or buy on the digital store.