Big news: Amazon will spend ≈ $465M on the initial season of Lord of the Rings.
Why this matters: Lord of the Rings is on track to be the first $1B television show. It was not that long ago where Game of Thrones was setting records with a $100M season.
Quote from Stuart Nash – New Zealand’s Minister for Economic Development and Tourism:
“This is fantastic it really is … the largest television series ever made.”
Amazon content (YoY growth) according to Variety:
1) 2019 – $7.8B
2) 2020 – $11.0B (↑ 41%)
Big question: How does Amazon expect to make money from Lord of the Rings?
Quick answer: Sell more Amazon Prime memberships at a higher rate.
Remember: Amazon does not directly monetize original content on Prime Video. They win when you become a Prime member who grows your per year spending on Amazon to $1,200 from $550 (↑ 182%).
Quote from David Offenberg – Associate Professor of Entertainment Finance @ LMU’s College of Business Administration:
“The important thing to remember about Amazon Prime Video is that it’s a loss leader. It’s not the building block they’re trying to make money on which is, as Jeff Bezos famously said, ‘selling socks.’ They don’t need it to be the most important part of their corporate strategy.”
Desired output from video investment:
1) Amazon Prime Video → Sell more on Amazon.com
2) Apple TV+ → Sell more iPhones
3) HBO Max → Sell more AT&T phone subscriptions
4) Peacock → Sell more Xfinity broadband subscriptions
Quick math on Amazon Prime according to Prof G:
1) 129M Prime HH in U.S.
2) Increasing renewal rate from 80% to 91% nets 12M HH
3) 12M HH = $11.0B in additional revenue
4) $11.0B in additional revenue = $47.5B in additional market capitalization
Interesting question: Amazon Prime members generate $5.42/month (see above) in additional gross margin vs. non-Prime members. Entertainment Strategy Guy ponders an alternative where Amazon took the content investment and offered free subscriptions to Netflix and/or Spotify.