Update: lots of outlets picked up the Daily Mail's original report/rumor about Amazon and AMC. But this Deadline article raises an interesting question. Which AMC was Bezos actually interested in? Was it AMC Entertainment or AMC Networks? Considering this article is more of a thought experiment based on those earlier reports, the story below remains unchanged, but we'll keep you updated if Amazon buys anyone.
There was a lot of commotion on Wall Street earlier this week when reports came out about AMC Theaters ($AMC) finding a potential buyer, which led to the stock jumping. That buyer is the biggest company in the world, Amazon ($AMZN), led by the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, who is allegedly considering getting into the movie business. Well, more involved than he already is, after expanding Amazon into the streaming video war, contending for both Emmys and Oscars, and now potentially just owning the distribution for films entirely.
AMC has had to shut down all of its theaters due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and for good reason. Even if theaters opened again, would people even want to sit near strangers for an extended period of time? Is video on demand, or VOD as its better known, now the go-to movie option? What would it look like if Amazon bought the largest theater chain in America? Would it cut ticket prices? Would it renegotiate with studios like Universal about release windows? Can Prime members get exclusive deals?
The sky is the limit when you're a part of Amazon, a company that pays nothing in taxes, has access to cheap capital, and has an endless drive to consume and disrupt industries.
Stores and Employees
Just as a thought experiment, here are the hundreds of AMC movie theaters across the country, side by side with Whole Foods and Amazon stores. If Bezos wants to fill in more of the US map, he can easily spend a few billion on other chains and not break a sweat. By sitting on AMC theaters during the pandemic, Amazon wouldn't lose that much money, and would be able to recoup on their losses when audiences are ready to come back and see their favorite blockbusters on the big screen again (not to mention all the exclusive Amazon content they could premiere).
Amazon would be acquiring AMC's 5,000+ permanent employees, and some 35,000 part-time jobs across North America and Europe. In this hypothetical experiment, there's no telling what Amazon would do with all the new AMC workers, but odds are they would make sure no one unionizes.
Social media engagement
Amazon would also be buying is all the engagement AMC has online with movie fans and cinephiles. AMC's Facebook likes and mentions have seen declines over the last six months, but the chain's 'Were Here' count for theaters has been historically high. AMC could provide the goodwill, and selfies, that Amazon lacks.
Plus, if Amazon felt the need to pad out its social media followings, they could add almost half a million Instagram and Twitter followers to its list of accolades.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.