What’s the value of original content?
If the sale of MGM to Amazon late last month is anything to go by, then on the face of it, it’s approximately US$8.5 billion.
Apple, Comcast and Amazon battled it out to secure the famous roaring lion studio’s back catalogue of 4000 films and 17,000 hours of TV content – including everything from Hollywood classics, like The Wizard of Oz, to more recent hits, like The Handmaid’s Tale.
Why did Amazon want MGM? There’s no mystery to it. Amazon Studios and Prime Video senior vice-president Mike Hopkins spelled it out clearly: “The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of intellectual property in the deep catalogue that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team.”
It’s those words, “plan to reimagine”, which make the heart sink a little. It sounds like we’re about to be fed endless remakes of the same old stories we grew up on. Emma Stone as Dorothy. Emma Stone as Scarlet O’Hara. Emma Stone as Elle Woods.
As a writer, I am annoyed to no end by this. But as a marketer, I know there are clearly some lessons we can all take from Amazon’s example:
I genuinely fear we’re going to be drip-fed an endless diet of regurgitated content by Amazon. Hollywood heartburn, if you will. (We’re already getting another Pink Panther reboot, which literally no-one asked for; and a Fiddler on the Roof remake, as if anyone can top Topol; and why on earth are they already remaking Lord of the Rings?)
But if anything good can come of it, perhaps it’s that we can take a few marketing pointers from one of the world’s most successful companies.
Oh, and perhaps a Gone with the Wind remake. That film is problematic. It could do with an update.
8 June 2021
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