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Monday, November 29, 2021

Amazon’s takeover of James Bond studio will raise streaming charges, unions warn

Streaming prices will rise if competition authorities do not block Amazon’s £6.4bn bid for the studio behind James Bond, unions have warned.

A powerful group of American unions said the deal for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios would hand Amazon the power to reduce competition because it would have nearly three times as many shows as Netflix. 

The alliance fears Amazon will charge rivals more to access its vast catalogue of films and television shows, which could ultimately mean higher monthly prices for viewers.

The Strategic Organizing Center, a group backed by the unions, claimed Amazon’s library of movies and shows would swell to more than 55,000 titles compared to Netflix’s 20,000. 

In a letter to America’s Federal Trade Commission, the group said: “The prospect of Amazon acquiring a trove of additional MGM content to build on Amazon’s existing vast library should raise alarm bells.

“With control over MGM’s vast library, Amazon may acquire enough market power over streaming content to raise prices for streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) competitors or for SVOD consumers.”

Amazon unveiled its swoop for the Hollywood business behind the Silence of the Lambs and Gone with the Wind in May, as it moved to strengthen Prime Video’s defences in an increasingly crowded streaming market. 

The online retailer uses its video streaming service as a tool to encourage customers to become Prime members so they will spend more money on products.

That has included expanding its live sports offerings since buying the rights to the ATP World Tour Tennis four years ago.

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