Inc. has added another arm to their impressive suite of businesses. The retail giant has purchased MGM Studios for a reported $8.45 billion. The aggressive move brings all current MGM projects and their storied catalog of thousands of films and TV shows into Amazon Studios.  The purchase may at first be shocking, however it falls in line with their previous ventures. Despite being viewed as the world’s leading online retailer, Amazon has branched into physical grocery stores, pharmacy services, video games, and film production. The purchase of MGM is the second largest in the company’s history, behind the $13.7 billion for Whole Foods in 2017, and it has changed the landscape of the streaming wars.

Netflix has long been the monarch of streaming; however, their place at the top has been threatened by the likes of Amazon, Discovery, and Disney. All streaming services have seen an influx of subscribers due to COVID-19 and Netflix has attempted to retain them by adding more original content. Disney has responded with the purchase of Fox and Discovery answered with the recent acquisition of Warner Media. It should come as no surprise that when it was Jeff Bezos’ turn to respond, they swung for the fences. The main draw of MGM is their vast back catalog of IP’s that could result in countless reboots and reimagining’s of old films and TV shows including the James Bond franchise. Amazon seems willing to foot the bill for any and all projects, including a “Lord of the Rings” TV series currently in production that cost $465 million for the first season.

All of this spending begs the question, what’s in it for Amazon?

Amazon is hoping that this purchase will not only help them overcome rival Netflix in the streaming wars, however, also stay ahead of competitors like Walmart and Walgreens in the retail space. Amazon Prime Video subscriptions are only included with Prime. Anyone tuning in to see the latest Bond adventure will become Prime members and who can resist free shipping? The new subscriptions gained from all of these MGM films could funnel customers towards buying Prime products or filling prescriptions from their website and vice versa. This synergy is a perk that neither Walmart nor Netflix can offer. The purchase will likely raise more antitrust concerns over their monopoly, yet the power moves are impressive.

We are certainly living in Amazon’s world now. The company has thrived due to innovative ideas and a willingness to stay ahead of the curve. They probably didn’t need to buy Whole Foods or MGM to be successful, although they have set the pace and continually broken the mold. The purchase of MGM could reshape the film industry and the retail space in equal measure. Jeff Bezos has put his competition into checkmate and all they can do is watch as he flies off into space.