The agreement of Amazon for the acquisition of Metro (MGM) has just confirmed a trend of concentration that is occurring throughout the audiovisual industry within the framework of the streaming wars.
The purchase, for an amount of 8,500 million dollars, still has to be approved by the regulators, but de facto it will bring Amazon and Prime Video sagas as popular as James Bond or Rocky Balboa. It was the first major acquisition of a technology company to a film studio, but the current context, with streaming increasingly thriving, and doubts about how the sector will turn out after the pandemic in terms of consumer trends, makes it increasingly more analysts believe that this may just be the beginning.
I buy you for your story in the cinema; I let myself be bought by your streaming platform
The pandemic has only accelerated a process that was already cooking. Disney’s deal to purchase FOX -which has ended up reinforcing especially Disney Plus- was only the first. A few weeks ago, AT&T – which had acquired Time Warner in 2019 – announced that it was merging the rights of the studio with Discovery. The result, we already know that it will be called Warner Bros. Discovery, with the aim of creating a streaming giant with HBO Max and Discovery +.
Before that, in 2018, Viacom and CBS with Paramount They also joined forces, first resulting in CBS All Access in its commitment to streaming and later being renamed Paramount Plus.
In the end, within a few years, if we look at the most buoyant film studios of yesteryear, many of them heirs of the era of the greats. majors, MGM was the last to resist in this plot of continuous acquisitions. To finish clearing the map: Time Warner is now part of AT&T, Disney acquired 21st Century Fox, Paramount is owned by ViacomCBS and Universal Pictures is controlled by Comcast.
MGM is now owned by Amazon, Time Warner is now part of AT&T, Disney acquired 21st Century Fox, Paramount is owned by ViacomCBS, and Universal Pictures is controlled by Comcast.
Streaming platforms have become natural buyers of rights in order to fill that wardrobe fund of your catalog that can prevent a subscriber from unsubscribing. What could be next? In the United States, there is already speculation about possible acquisitions that could follow, and that would de facto suppose for the viewer a dance of rights on the platforms and series that are available in each OTT service.
Sony, alone but in good company
Sony Pictures is the most powerful studio that still doesn’t have its own streaming platform. The subsidiary of the Japanese company manufacturer of PlayStation, however, has moved in an agile way by running out of the cinema screens during these months.
First, it put movies like Greyhound on Apple TV + at the height of the pandemic. And a few months ago it announced agreements with Disney Plus and Netflix to give it preference in the broadcast of its films from 2022. First, it will transfer its exclusive broadcast to Netflix a few months after its passage through theaters, and then it will transfer to Disney Plus the same rights until 2026.
The case of Sony is especially relevant for what it implies due to its relationship with Marvel in terms of the rights of Spider-man, who have had their own historical drama until reconciliation was reached so that the trepamuros could be included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Other data on Disney Plus now and save thanks to the annual subscription, with which you can enjoy its entire catalog of series and movies. It includes unlimited access to all premieres already Star. You will also be able to see the content of Marvel and Star Wars and the great animated films of Pixar.
In addition, Sony has draft franchises such as Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, Jumanji, Men in Black, O Bad Boys.
But is there a possibility that at some point it will be bought by another studio or technology with a streaming platform? Its CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, assured in an interview to the Financial Times after the MGM-Amazon agreement that Sony’s movie business is not for sale. At least for now.
Lionsgate and your doubts with streaming
With more than 17,000 movies and series chapters, Lionsgate is the other major studio that remains independent in this acquisition chess set. Of course, it has its own platform, STARZplay, derived from the channel of the same name and which is already in regions such as Spain.
Among its catalog are films and sagas such as The Hunger Games, John Wick -whose first part refuses to appear in the catalog of many platforms-, La La Land, or the saga Divergent.
However, despite having its own platform, Lionsgate has also made deals with the OTT giants already. In April, he sold the rights to Daggers in the back to Netflix to develop his own saga on this story produced and directed by Ryan Johnson.
For now, Lionsgate has fully entered the buzz by seeing itself as the most affordable average fish by large fish, although its officials deny the largest. In the last earnings call with investors, its CEO, Jon Feltheimer, said that “I think the key to what we are going to do is keep our heads down and continue executing our plan. I think, frankly, we don’t want to be distracted, because we believe that our job is actually to create good films that are appreciated and that result in results for our shareholders ”.
Legendary, the world of monsters
Although associated on many occasions for its distribution and co-production via Waner Bros. to HBO Max, Legendary is the other great study that remains in contention.
The studio, founded in 2000 by Thomas Tull, was released with the first film of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and later participated, sometimes alone and sometimes with Warner or Universal in such successful sagas as Jurassic World, 300, Watchmen, Hangover in Las Vegas, the monster verse from Godzilla vs. Kong or various Nolan movies.
Legendary already had its strains with AT&T over its decision to release this year’s Warner films direct on HBO Max, mainly because it had deposited most of the cost of producing films as Dune.
Silence has since engulfed this medium-large study, which nevertheless seems to continue to have the lungs to endure closing deals on its own.
A24, the new independent flag
Founded in 2012 by Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges, A24 has quickly become a paradigm of how an independent study it can sneak into the big scenes.
Your best example may be Moonlight, winner of the Oscar for best picture, but has also made great science fiction and modern horror films such as Ex Machina O The Witch, Midsummer O The lighthouse.
He has already had his deals with Netflix (produced Uncut Gems with Adam Sandler), and also with HBO (Euphoria) and has distributed part of its catalog with agreements with Prime Video.
His ambivalence seems to keep him in very good health to remain independent, but a checkbook to get a deal that takes his already long award-winning wardrobe to a streaming platform can be a mouthful that many platforms want to bet on.