In an annual report filed to the SEC just before the weekend, Amazon has revealed that its total expenses for TV, film and music content spending for 2022 was $16.6 billion. This marks a 28% increase over 2021, reports Variety.
Big expenditure on the rights for packages of soccer games from the English Premier League have boosted this spend, as has the most expensive TV show ever made – The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. That had a ticket of $450 million attached for the first season.
This is where the data may start to unravel.
Amazon claims The Rings of Power was the most-watched original series worldwide. According to their fanfare upon launch it drove more Prime sign-ups than any other content event in their history and was watched by 100 million viewers.
The Rings of Power might have had a strong start, but the yearly Nielsen numbers don’t reflect staying power. According to the Nielsen data it didn’t break into the Top 15 Streaming Programs of 2022, and it wasn’t even the most watched Prime Video series. Their data seems to show a big launch, but then people tuning out pretty quickly and not returning.
That said, the top 15 is more of a reflection of the changing nature of television viewership than any real reflection of quality.
The show was beset by rumors of issues on the creative side, with Tolkien scholars deciding to leave the production. There was also speculation that Amazon fired Tom Shippey, arguably the most eminent Tolkien scholar, from The Rings of Power for warning them about the show’s inaccuracies and deviation from source materials.
Amazon’s acquisition of MGM for the rock-bottom price of $8.5 billion brings a major movie studio into their control, and gives them access to the staggering MGM and United Artists back catalogue, along with the rights to distribute the James Bond movies.
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