Amazon is looking for a senior movie studio executive to help lead its growing entertainment division.
The company is looking to approach competitors for the chance to swoop in and snag an accomplished Hollywood player.
A number of influential figures in Hollywood, including Scott Stuber, one of Netflix’s most senior and well-known executives.
The status of the negotiations was unknown. Several candidates, including Mr. Stuber, have spoken with Amazon about the position.
The company also discussed a position with former Paramount Pictures executive Emma Watts.
Amazon’s discussions with Mr. Stuber and others come amid power shifts in Hollywood and new vulnerabilities at the industry’s dominant streaming service.
Mr. Stuber oversees a division at Netflix that has produced dozens of movies, including Martin Scorsese’s Mob drama “The Irishman” and the big-budget action release “The Gray Man,” where he helped cement the company’s status as the streaming industry’s dominant player.
However, Netflix has recently signalled a retreat as rivals such as Walt Disney Co. spend heavily to outnumber it in subscriber numbers and content offerings. Netflix’s global expansion has slowed, prompting the company to cut spending and scale back operations.
At Amazon, executives have spent billions of dollars this past year hoping to augment its Prime service, using A-list stars to lure subscribers.
Netflix has lost subscribers for the second quarter in a row as it faces increased competition and inflationary pressures on consumer spending.
This year’s stock dropped nearly 60% due to subscriber attrition. To compensate, Netflix is looking for new revenue streams, including the launch of an ad-supported tier of its service.
Some Netflix executives have struggled extensively releasing more movies in theatres.
Mr. Stuber has contended to associates that more theatrical film debuts could support the firm boost revenue.
The departures of Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, both MGM executives now at Warner Bros. Discovery Inc., created a leadership void at Amazon this spring. Amazon paid $6.5 billion for the MGM film and television studio in March.
The firm plans to hire an executive in the next couple of months. It has yet to be debated how MGM will integrate into Amazon’s operations.
One scenario under consideration is to release most theatrical films under the MGM banner, while other features are released under the Amazon Studios brands, people familiar with the matter said.
The company is also discussing rebranding MGM’s Epix premium cable channel under the MGM studio umbrella, the people said.
Amazon has made significant investments in its film operations, with varying degrees of success. It saw movies as a key draw to entice customers to use its Prime shipping service.
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In its earlier days, Amazon Studios was known for art-house fare like Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq” and “Manchester by the Sea,” an intense drama that won two Academy Awards.
Well-regarded Amazon releases such as “The Sound of Metal” and “One Night in Miami…” received critical acclaim but were aimed at a specific audience. Its television division has had greater success, with shows like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “The Terminal List.”
More lately, Amazon has expanded into programming designed to have broader appeal. When Covid-19 closed movie theaters around the world, Amazon bought and circulated would-be theatrical releases on its streaming service, such as “The Tomorrow War,” a big-budget science-fiction movie starring Chris Pratt.
Source: Wall Street Journal