Amazon's Ring, MGM to launch show from viral doorbell videos
Two Amazon-owned companies—Ring and Hollywood studio MGM—are teaming to create a TV show in the mold of "America's Funniest Home Videos" using viral footage from Ring's doorbell and smart-home cameras.
The half-hour show, called "Ring Nation," will be hosted by actor and comedian Wanda Sykes and premier in syndication on Sept. 26, MGM said.
The studio noted audiences should expect to see the usual things that go viral—marriage proposals, neighbors saving neighbors and silly animals.
The series showcases Amazon's fusion of its various business arms, this time to highlight what MGM called "interesting moments from communities across the country."
"You have one company that owns two juggernauts and (has) just figured out how to leverage one against the other," said Robert Passikoff, president of the brand research firm Brand Keys. He noted that unlike scripted movies or shows, a reality series using Ring footage will likely be cheaper to produce.
The show also presents a branding opportunity for the Seattle-based e-commerce and retail giant, which bought Ring in 2018 for $1 billion and has dealt with rounds of privacy concerns around Ring and its relationship with police departments across the country.
Last month, Amazon revealed it had provided Ring doorbell footage to law enforcement 11 times this year without the user's permission—all in response to emergency requests, according to the company.
MGM, which Amazon purchased for $8.5 billion, said in a statement Thursday that "Ring Nation" will offer audiences "daily dose of life's unpredictable, heartwarming and hilarious viral videos" shared by people from their cameras.
"Many of these have been previously shared online," Amazon spokesperson Nick Schweers said. "Others were sent directly to the team." Ring Nation secures permissions for each video from the owner and anyone identifiable in the video, or from companies that hold the rights to the clips, he said.
Amazon's deal to purchase MGM was closed earlier this year, though the Federal Trade Commission has said it still retains discretion to challenge it. Big Fish Entertainment, a production company owned by MGM, will also be part of the partnership.
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