Amazon shook both Hollywood and Middle Earth on Monday, announcing it had acquired the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings. The mega-deal is shocking and reminiscent of 2013, when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also shook the media landscape in buying The Washington Post. Though the television deal is a corporate agreement and the newspaper purchase is a personal investment, both transactions demonstrate how established brands still carry big value in the Internet age. The question is, which deal was bigger?
The Lord of the Rings‘ television rights have been on the market for a while, reports Deadline, which said HBO and Netflix were also in the hunt to create a series about J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy realm, and that upfront payments were “said to be in the $200–$250 million range.”
But with that many parties in on the bidding, it’s unlikely that the cost went down for Amazon—especially when you consider that Apple has also been lurking in the shadows of Hollywood, making strategic content deals that would give the iPhone-maker family-friendly programming to bundle into its Apple Music streaming service.
Meanwhile, Bezos’ personal deal for The Washington Post was valued at $250 million at the time it was signed. Peering into the company’s 2012 financial report, which Business Insider did in 2013, it seems that Bezos might have gotten himself a deal, buying when revenue (specifically print) was on the decline. Since then—thanks in part to a grueling 2016 election—The Washington Post‘s fortunes have improved greatly. Digiday reports an internal memo characterizes the Post as a “growing business.”
Will The Lord of the Rings similarly help Amazon’s revenue grow? Like any good television show, it looks like we’ll have to stay tuned.