Sony's (NYSE:SNE) chairman of television entertainment Mike Hopkins will be leaving his post near the end of this month to take over entertainment operations for Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN). His new role will put him in charge of Amazon Studios as well as Prime Video.
The advent of Disney+ from Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) and a planned, ad-supported streaming service from Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) unit NBCUniversal is quickly making the on-demand video arena a crowded and competitive market. That, in turn, is creating competition for talent, as a combination of quality and quantity of programming and movies will ultimately dictate the industry's winners and losers.
Amazon hopes to tap into Hopkins' 20 years' worth of experience, including four years as CEO of Hulu, where under his leadership Hulu became the first streaming service to win a primetime Emmy. While at Sony, Hopkins streamlined Sony's television studio operation, though the company's division stopped short of creating a stand-alone streaming service of its own. The closest Sony came to the premise was 2015's launch of Vue, though the skinny bundle offering was shut down in January of this year, never fully distinguishing itself as an option available separately from Sony's popular PlayStation gaming console.
Hopkins replaces Amazon executive Jeff Blackburn at the midpoint of Blackburn's year-long sabbatical at a time when Amazon's well-established Prime Video platform must remain competitive with existing streaming names like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) as well as new options from the likes of Disney and NBC Universal. To that end, Hopkins will inherit an Amazon Studios that delivers quality programming, but trails in terms of actual accolades. Netflix earned 24 Oscar nominations, while Amazon secured just one.