By now, you’ve probably heard about the recent merger between Amazon and MGM – Amazon’s second biggest purchase after the $13.7 billion Whole Foods deal in 2017, having outbid Apple and Netflix.
The $8.45 billion MGM deal first announced last May closed last month, and allows Amazon to get their hands on MGM’s nearly century-old catalog of films and TV series.
Now, does this mean you’ll be able to stream all your favorite James Bond movies with your Prime Video subscription? Let’s break it down and figure out what exactly this deal could mean for viewers.
Brief Overview: MGM In A Nutshell
Founded in 1924, the media giant has produced over 4,000 films and 17,000 TV episodes, with a pretty great track record of over 180 Academy Awards and 100 Emmys.
In their repertoire, they’ve got everything from Golden Age classics like Gone With The Wind, to lavish musicals like The Wizard of Oz and Ziegfeld Girl, to sports dramas like Rocky and Creed, to comedies like Pink Panther and Legally Blonde, and tons of other crowd-pleasers.
MGM is especially known for its creation of some of the biggest blockbuster movie franchises. Some of their biggest names (and ones we could potentially see in Prime’s content library sometime in the future) include:
- James Bond
- G.I. Joe
- Tomb Raider
- The Addams Family
- Legally Blonde
But beyond their own films and TV shows, MGM also makes its money by producing content for many other networks, including Walt Disney, Comcast, Discovery, ViacomCBS, Netflix, AMC Networks and FOX.
Some long-standing hits include:
- Shark Tank for ABC
- The Voice for NBC
- Survivor for CBS
- Real Housewives for AMC
- The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu
Strategically speaking, purchasing MGM might just make Amazon an even bigger competitor to major VOD players like Netflix and Disney+. The trend is subscription-based streaming is still only going up, and it’s making platforms want to keep their programs on their own properties. Amazon trying to get their share of “movies we love to watch on repeat” was a smart move.
Leading up to Disney+’s launch, Disney began pulling a ton of its shows and movies from Netflix to entice people to sign up to their new platform. If Amazon follows suit, they could potentially pull their own popular programming from other competitors, including some of the popular MGM-born titles listed above. Of course, this will depend on what the existing deal terms are.
Brief Overview: Amazon Prime Video In A Nutshell
With over 175 million users as of April 2021, Amazon Prime Video is one of the best on-demand streaming services out there, and it’s widely considered one of the “Big 3” VOD services next to Netflix and Hulu. In addition to its already-huge collection of great on-demand content, you can find a number of highly-regarded Amazon Original shows.
Some of the most popular Amazon Originals include:
- Fleabag: (Dramedy) Fleabag is a hilarious and poignant window into the mind of a dry-witted, sexual, angry, grief-riddled woman, as she hurls herself at modern living in London.
- Catastrophe: (Dramedy) An Irish woman and an American man make a bloody mess as they struggle to fall in love in London.
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: (Comedy) In 1950’s New York, a Jewish housewife discovers she has a knack for stand-up comedy. But her commitment to her craft and the places it takes her creates a rift between her and the family and friends around her.
- Good Omens: (Fantasy) Aziraphale and Crowley, of Heaven and Hell respectively, have grown rather fond of the Earth. So it’s terrible news that it’s about to end. The unlikely duo must team up to stop the approaching Armageddon.
- Bosch: (Suspense/Drama) An LAPD homicide detective stands trial for the shooting of a serial murder suspect – just as a cold case involving the remains of a boy forces him to confront his past.
- The Underground Railroad: (Drama) After escaping a Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad beneath the Southern soil.
- The Wheel of Time: (Adventure) The lives of five young villagers change forever when a strange and powerful woman arrives, claiming one of them is the child of an ancient prophecy with the power to tip the balance between Light and Dark forever.
- Mozart in the Jungle: (Comedy) A look at what happens behind the curtains at the symphony. Hint: It’s just as captivating as what happens on stage.
- The Expanse: (Science-Fiction) The disappearance of rich-girl-turned-political-activist Julie Mao links the lives of Ceres detective Joe Miller, accidental ship captain James Holden and U.N. politician Chrisjen Avasarala. Amidst political tension between Earth, Mars and the Belt, they unravel the single greatest conspiracy of all time.
- Patriot: (Drama) To prevent Iran from going nuclear, intelligence officer John Tavner must forgo all safety nets and assume a perilous “non-official cover”: that of a mid-level employee at a Midwestern industrial piping firm.
In February 2022, Amazon announced that they were increasing the Prime membership fees by $2/month. New MGM content could justify the price increase.
What Could The MGM Deal Mean for Content on Prime Video?
When the merger was first announced last year, Amazon promised “greater access” to MGM content and said that “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.”
That said, due to MGM’s licensing agreements with other platforms, it could be a few years before we notice some major changes in Amazon’s content library.
Still, long-term, what we could potentially see happening is future instalments or spin-offs of popular MGM franchises finding their way to Amazon Prime Video. With Daniel Craig exiting the James Bond franchise after the release of No Time to Die, it could be the perfect time for Amazon to get to work on a whole new era of 007.
And with The Handmaid’s Tale being a sweeping success and overall cultural phenomenon since its first season debuted on Hulu, we wouldn’t be surprised if Prime aired future installments of the franchise on its platform.
Could a merger like this ruin Prime Video?
On the other hand, some worry that a merger like this could actually be Amazon Prime Video’s demise. How so? With MGM’s tried and true stories and characters at their full disposal, some worry that Prime Video will begin to rely too heavily on sequels and reboots that fall flat instead of continuing to create fresh, new, critically-acclaimed content like they have in the past.
But so far, Prime hasn’t given us any signs to doubt the quality of what they’re putting out. It’s also hard to believe that Amazon would pay a 60% premium over the $5.5 billion market cap without having a meticulous plan to leverage MGM to lure more viewers away from its competitors.
Only time will tell. Until then, let’s sit back, relax, and wait to enjoy the fruits of this merger.
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