Amazon plans to expand its licensing of streaming content, which means that some of the best Prime Video shows and best Prime Video movies, from Thirteen Lives to The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel, could soon be available on other streaming services and linear TV channels.
The news was announced by Amazon Studios on Monday May 9, according to Variety, as part of the launch of Amazon MGM Studios Distribution. The TV and film producer plans to double down on its distributing business (ie, selling shows it owns to other companies) with the launch of the new division.
When Amazon Studios acquired the legacy studio MGM in May 2021, the burgeoning producer expanded its content library to include more than 4,000 movies and 17,000 TV shows. MGM owns hit film franchises such as James Bond as well as Rocky. It also has TV series such as The Handmaid's Tale, Vikings and Fargo in its stable.
Not only will these TV shows and movies potentially become available across rival streaming services like Apple TV Plus, Netflix, Disney Plus as well as on linear TV channels, but you can also expect more Prime Video originals to start becoming available elsewhere.
Amazon Original film titles that are lined up to be distributed include 7500, All the Old Knives, Bliss, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Coming 2 America, I Want You Back, The Tender Bar, The Tomorrow War, The Voyeurs and Without Remorse. TV shows including Goliath, Hunters and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are also part of the new distribution effort.
The new distribution effort is expected to be in full swing by later this month at the international TV marketplace LA Screenings, though it's hard to say when they would actually arrive on other services.
A changing streaming landscape
As more and more new streaming services get launched, legacy platforms like Netflix are having to contend with an increasing amount of competition when locking down distribution deals. The launch of Amazon MGM Studios Distribution is just another sign of the rising interest in sharing streaming content across platforms and networks.
Another potential reason for the rise in interest in off-platform distribution deals is the cost crunch at tech companies like Meta, Google and Microsoft amid a high inflation and interest rate environment. Amazon itself has reportedly had to lay off 27,000 workers. The company’s new distribution division could help it to offset some of these cost pressures.
However, Chris Ottinger, who led the MGM distribution team for more than a decade and is now overseeing Amazon MGM Studio Distribution, has said that the new division has always been part of the company’s plan.
“This concept of warehousing products in these big vertical SVOD (subscription video-on-demand) services, that’s definitely been a strategy for some folks. It’s not clear to me that it was ever a strategy at Amazon,” he said.
Amazon is increasingly adapting to the changing streaming landscape. Last week, the company announced that it was rolling out free streaming channels with ads to all of Fire TV Stick owners. It also announced that it was planning to add more than 100 Prime Video Originals to Amazon Freevee.