Industry trade

Reviews | Don’t let Amazon eat the film industry

Would you like to watch any of these movies in a public library? You can probably find a DVD shelf there. But you will not find any electronic access to these films. They are trapped in individual subscriber accounts via Prime Video.

Amazon’s treatment of other media companies should also make you squirm. Are you a rival streamer who needs to use Fire Stick? Amazon has a price for this, and if you’re HBO Max, it may involve renewing your Amazon Web Service contract. And maybe you’ll just have to wait a year or so, like Peacock + did, for negotiations with Amazon to be successful.

Oh, and if you’re a small fry streamer, do nice documentaries depend? You might just be out in the cold. Ovid, a small streaming service that offers high-quality documentaries, cannot get a response from Amazon, despite having repeatedly searched for a channel on Amazon’s website. And there is no one to ask why.

Amazon’s market power, which comes not only from its size but also from its many overlapping activities, is already a cause for alarm among those arguing for stricter antitrust laws. Adding MGM to their arena of power in the still emerging streaming market would further limit competition and innovation.

Independent filmmakers deserve a chance, and they may have found an ally in a coalition of America’s biggest unions, the Strategic Organizing Center, which also called on the Federal Trade Commission to block the deal. And the FTC may apply closer scrutiny to “vertical integration” – a large corporation owning businesses along its supply chain, like when pre-1948 Hollywood studios also owned the distribution and distribution rights. ‘exposure. This scrutiny is another good sign.

Consumers as well as creators must embrace antitrust as a lever that can bring more diversity and competition to the streaming market. Success could mean that creators are better able to tell stories for a vibrant company. Inaction could mean supporting business models that simply help companies sell more shoes.

Patricia Aufderheide is a professor at the School of Communication at American University and author of the book “Documentary Film: A Very Short Introduction”.

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