E-commerce and cloud computing giant Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN) Amazon Studios thinks it’s found its very own “Game of Thrones” with a new “The Lord of the Rings” streaming TV series based on the fantasy novels written by J.R.R. Tolkien. (See also: Bezos: Amazon Needs Its Own 'Game of Thrones'.)
On Monday, the Seattle-based retail giant announced that it is already committed to producing a multiseason show that will appear on Amazon.com for its Prime members. Amazon’s deal with the Tolkien estate, which Deadline.com reports comes at an upfront payment of “close to $250 million,” gives the tech titan global television rights to "The Lord of the Rings," as well as the potential for additional spinoff series. Amazon Studios will reportedly “explore new storylines” that precede the action of the Tolkien novels.
An Increasingly Competitive Streaming Space
The news from Amazon comes as the race for the acquisition of premium franchises heats up among tech companies and streaming platforms. Media giants such as the Walt Disney Co. (DIS), Netflix Inc. (NFLX) and Apple Inc. (AAPL) have been acquiring content at a rapid pace as they plan to double down on their own in-house production. Earlier this year, Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, currently the world’s richest person, shifted the company’s media strategy in efforts to pursue a new “big show” comparable to HBO’s "Game of Thrones."
Smartphone maker Apple plans to spend about $1 billion on original content, including two seasons of a drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. Disney, which announced plans to cut ties with Netflix as it rolls out its new direct-to-consumer platform by 2019, recently struck a deal with Rian Johnson, the director of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” for a new science fiction trilogy. (See also: Apple: Aniston, Witherspoon to Star in New Series.)