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Amazon said over the weekend that more than 25 million people globally had watched the premiere of s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” on its debut date, September 2 - the largest audience for the debut of any program or movie in Prime Video's history.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” is based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and is reported to be the most expensive TV series ever filmed;  it cost Amazon in the neighborhood of $715 million to obtain the rights from the Tolkien estate, and has been a passion project for the company's founder, Jeff Bezos.

The stakes are high - Prime Video is engaged in streaming warfare with the likes of Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+ and Peacock.

From the Journal story:

"While 'Lord of the Rings' is Amazon’s biggest bet to broaden the reach of its Amazon Prime Video streaming platform, it is far from the only one. Earlier this year, Amazon acquired the MGM movie and television studio for $6.5 billion. MGM’s library includes the 'James Bond' and 'Rocky' franchises as well as 'The Pink Panther' and 'RoboCop.'  Amazon is expected to use the assets of the studio to advance its own movie and television ambitions.

'Amazon Prime Video’s next big event will be 'Thursday Night Football.'  The company secured long-term rights to stream the National Football League package of games in a deal that costs around $1 billion per season."

However, Amazon is doing its best to control the game.  The Verge reports that "Amazon has introduced a new weapon in the battle against internet trolls: delays."

Prime Video reportedly has "introduced a new 72-hour delay for all user reviews posted to Prime Video … Each critique is then evaluated to determine whether it’s genuine or a forgery created by a bot, troll or other breed of digital goblin.

"The practice caught notice after the premiere of the first two episodes of 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' … The series appears to have been review bombed - when trolls flood intentionally negative reviews for a show or film - on other sites like Rotten Tomatoes, where it has an 84% rating from professional critics, but a 37% from user-submitted reviews.  'The Rings of Power' has been fending off trolls for months, especially ones who take issue with the decision to cast actors of color as elves, dwarves, harfoots and other folk of Tolkien’s fictional Middle-earth."

KC's View:

I have very little interest in seeing this series, largely because it just isn't my genre.  I like science fiction, not fantasy, and so if I watch this, it'll only be because Mrs. Content Guy is a big "Lord of the Rings" fan, and I wouldn't mind spending time with her.

It has been interesting to watch the extraordinary marketing power that Amazon has been able to put behind this project.  It seems like most of the envelopes and boxes that have come in from Amazon have featured promotions for "Lord of the Rings," and many of the ubiquitous gray Amazon delivery trucks have been repainted to feature "LOTR" ads on one side and NFL ads on the other.


It is worth pointing this out because it illustrates the degree to which Amazon can use its omnipresence to promote any and all of its various businesses.  That's worth keeping in mind - anyone competing with Amazon has to know the degree to which it can brings its power to bear on anything it wants to.