Moss Tells S&P Global Market Intelligence Amazon-MGM Deal Could Create Buyer Power Concerns for Content Creators

In S&P Global Market Intelligence’s May 29 article “Amazon-MGM deal could pressure regulatory review of content consolidation,” AAI President Diana Moss said Amazon-MGM transaction could create buyer power concerns in the content business, to the disadvantage of writers and other creators.

From the article:

Consolidation continues to stir through the media industry, leaving behind a soup of content companies that look much different than the individual studios, media and tech companies that were once on the shelf.

Most recently, Inc. said it will acquire MGM Holdings Inc., operator of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. film and TV studio, in a hefty $8.45 billion deal. While the pricey acquisition does pull more content studios under the umbrella of horizontally integrated tech and media companies, industry experts are divided on whether the deal does enough to impede competition so as to hit a regulatory roadblock…

…Diana Moss, president of the American Antitrust Institute, held similar reservations. The transaction could create a monopsony in the content business, or a market lopsided by the power of a single buyer, Moss said in an interview.

“Writers have been pummeled with consolidation in media/content for years. That has potential effects on maintaining diversity, quality, and innovation in content and deserves a close look in an antitrust review,” Moss said.

However, by other accounts, the explosion of content and content platforms increased demand and salaries for many writers and other talent. Major companies with big budgets are backing platforms like Netflix Inc., The Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+ and Hulu, AT&T Inc.’s HBO Max, as well as advertising-supported video services like ViacomCBS Inc.’s Pluto TV and Fox Corp.’s Tubi TV.

Under this view, Amazon’s deal for MGM is just one more step in a highly competitive race that has expanded, not restricted, the scope and diversity of content and the demand for content creators.