As Streaming Wars competitors continue to buy up content by the billions, Apple TV+ and Netflix are reportedly zeroing in on MGM.
News of this pivotal development came from CNBC, as MGM has held “preliminary” talks with the two streaming hosts, along with other companies, about potential acquisition.
Let’s break down the potential fit for Netflix and Apple TV+ with MGM and how a prospective acquisition would benefit the parties involved.
Netflix needs coverage for big IP losses
In addition to seeing Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar all go to Disney+, Netflix is losing TV iconic shows like Friends and The Office to HBO Max and NBC’s Peacock respectively.
Netflix is still the leader in streaming spending and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It’s necessary for the company to be proactive in the Streaming Wars arms/content race.
But ultimately, Netflix doesn’t have the type of backing infrastructure someone like Amazon Prime Video or, yes, Apple TV+ has. Those services’ parent companies have all sorts of other revenue wells to draw from.
MGM is one source that’s still up for grabs that Netflix could nab. Since it’s not the giant other major studios are, it seems like a logical partnership.
If Netflix’s own studios and MGM could collaborate in the future, it’d be mutually beneficial. MGM, theoretically, would be more on the cutting edge of home entertainment and not as franchise-reliant on, say, James Bond.
Also, MGM’s legacy in theatrical film could well aid Netflix’s efforts to reach silver screens with more regularity. CNBC’s report states Netflix wants to make 95 movies per year, which doesn’t seem possible without the aid of someone like MGM.
Apple TV+ needs a movie back catalog
It’s especially impressive how strong Apple TV+ is going considering it doesn’t have a movie catalog. Instead, the creative teams have invested tons in original TV programming — to great results.
In fact, it’s been reported Apple TV+ has more subscribers than Disney+ and Hulu already. Outpacing both Mouse House-owned services is a big win for Apple, and a testament to how ubiquitous the brand is.
Apple TV+’s price point is so low, at only $4.99 per month. Part of that is how big Apple is as a company, and how convenient it is in that there’s such an innate base of subscribers from smartphones and laptops and other gizmos.
Adding MGM would give Apple TV+ its first big preexisting IP content acquisition. What’s great about the studio’s legacy is it’s steeped in history, and would give Apple TV+ a vintage feel — a retro brand to their movie back catalog.
Plus, Apple TV+ does have some original movies in development. Until those projects really launch and thrive, though, it wouldn’t hurt to have just a little bit of help to diversify their content base.
CHECK OUT: Best Apple TV+ movies coming in 2020
Who will win?
Well, it’s too early to call — and it’s possible other big streamers could get in on the MGM action. AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner gives HBO Max added leverage, and NBC’s Peacock has been aggressive, too.
Between classic musicals, the James Bond franchises and other iconic films, MGM is an excellent, prestigious “get” for media companies. What’s interesting, though, is HBO Max already has notable MGM titles such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Singin’ in the Rain.
Considering Apple hasn’t gone big on acquisitions yet and is already getting a jump on MGM, it seems they’re unusually interested. This could indicate a pivot in business strategy, or at least an exception to their normal rule.
As we’ve seen throughout its existence, Netflix isn’t shy to spend a ton of money. However, this one may be worth sitting out, because at this rate, Netflix is going to have enough of an original content catalog to fill its service entirely.
It seems more worthwhile for Netflix to sign creative minds to exclusive deals. They’ve done this with Game of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, among others. That seems a sounder strategy than trying to compete and overcompensate for licensed content.