Tuesday 18 May 2021 2:17 pm

Streaming giants: Amazon reportedly in talks to buy iconic MGM Studios

One of the film industry’s most famous studios MGM may be about to be bagged by online retail giant Amazon for £6.35bn, according to reports.

The multi-billion-dollar sale would give Amazon’s Prime streaming service access to a back catalogue of iconic content that spans nearly 100 years of film and television since the studio was formed in 1924.

The reports come just hours after telecoms giant AT&T agreed to merge its Warner Media unit with Discovery, to create another streaming giant.

MGM Holdings, the parent company of MGM Studios, has reportedly been exploring a sale since the end of last year after viewers flocked to streaming services under lockdown measures.

The studio, which has hosted childhood classics like Tom & Jerry, The Wizard of Oz and the James Bond franchise, has since ventured into shows like The Handmaid’s Tale which has crept to the top of social discourse.

On Monday, movie giant Warner Media confirmed it was combining with Discovery, merging Harry Potter and Batman franchises with home, cooking, nature and science shows.

The flurry of deals is being heralded as a new wave of consolidation in the media sector as major players look to build scale in the streaming era.

The sector is currently dominated by Netflix, which has 208m subscribers, while Disney Plus has grown rapidly and now has more than 100m subscribers.

“With MGM receiving huge financial pressure following its decision to delay its latest James Bond film during Covid, as well as the growth of Disney Plus during the pandemic and the recent Warner Bros/Discovery deal, Amazon’s acquisition gives the studio more room to breathe and adapt to the changing entertainment landscape,” said Rebecca Candeland, head of broadcast at Total Media.

“For Amazon, the deal allows the tech giant to move away from its sports niche — Amazon Prime Video recently brought the rights to stream NFL games — and broaden its appeal to allow them to compete with Netflix and Disney Plus.”