(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. has tapped Sony Corp. executive Mike Hopkins to lead its studios division and Prime Video, the company confirmed on Monday.
Amazon’s original film and television content units previously reported to Jeff Blackburn, a longtime Amazon executive who last year announced plans to step back for what the company described as a yearlong sabbatical. In addition to Amazon Studios, Blackburn also oversaw Amazon’s music streaming service, business development and advertising units.
Hopkins will report to Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, but will have a narrower remit than Blackburn. Jennifer Salke, a former NBC executive hired in 2018 to lead Amazon’s studios, and Greg Hart, chief of the Prime Video streaming service, will report to Hopkins.
Amazon’s push into filmed entertainment is one of the company’s biggest bets, a wager that exclusive content will keep Prime members happy and entice new ones. Amazon Studios has a reputation for well-reviewed shows, including “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Fleabag,” but has yet to produce a cultural sensation on the order of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” or HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Amazon in 2017 spent some $250 million on the rights to turn “The Lord of the Rings” into a TV program.
The company doesn’t break out viewership numbers for its shows and doesn’t say how many of the more than 150 million worldwide Prime members watch the video service. But Prime Video is thought to be one of the biggest streaming services and the only one currently competing with Netflix on a global basis. Amazon spent $7.8 billion on video and music content and digital subscription services last year, up 16% from 2018.
Hopkins, chairman of Sony Pictures Television, also previously ran the Hulu streaming service. He plans to join Amazon later this month, an Amazon spokesman said.
Hopkins’s hire was reported earlier by the Los Angeles Times.
(Updates throughout with background on Amazon Studios, Hopkins’ role, start date.)
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