US unions want to prevent Amazon from buying MGM

With the acquisition of the legendary Hollywood studio, the distribution giant will control around 56,000 titles, far ahead of Netflix’s 20,000.

Amazon’s acquisition of the legendary Hollywood studio MGM must not take place, say US unions, worried about the technology giant’s growing power over the subscription video streaming (SVOD) sector, a concern shared by many political figures .

“Amazon’s influence on the health and diversity of the film industry is likely to be negative if the company is allowed to grow even further”, argued Monday the Strategic Organizing Center, a federation which claims to represent nearly four million employees, in a press release. It calls on the American competition authority (FTC) to oppose this takeover announced last May. “Amazon’s current control over already massive amounts of content means that the merger will give it even more power to exclude its competitors”, continues the federation in its letter. She estimates that Amazon will control around 56,000 titles thanks to the buyout, far ahead of Netflix which would have just under 20,000 titles.

Horizontal and vertical powers

For an amount of 8.45 billion dollars, Amazon has offered more than 4,000 films, including the saga James bond, Thesilenceofthelambs, Robocop, Basic Instinct, Raging Bull Where Thelma & Louise, as well as an extensive catalog of series, such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Fargo and Vikings.

The unions further argue that Amazon’s market power is not only horizontal but also vertical, with the sale of electronic devices for video streaming (the “Fire” line) and cloud services ( remote computing) for storing the content of its competitors, starting with Netflix, the most popular of the platforms.

Asked by AFP, Amazon highlighted the variety of choices currently available to consumers, citing in particular Netflix, Disney +, Apple TV +, HBO Max and Peacock. The company also notes that neither MGM nor Amazon were involved in the production or distribution of any of the 20 most successful films around the world in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The FTC and many American states have launched investigations and prosecutions against Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, the notorious GAFAs, which they accuse of abusing a dominant position in their various markets, from social networks to digital advertising in going through online commerce. Amazon largely dominates the cloud, but it is above all its e-commerce platform that makes people cringe. The firm is both judge and party: it sets the rules and markets its own products.

“The company has become accustomed to using its power to tackle new markets thanks to practices that we believe to be unfair and contrary to competition law”, write the unions. “This merger would allow Amazon to use the same methods against the video streaming industry, inevitably affecting producers and consumers, and reducing diversity”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *