Amazon committed to a multi-season Lord of the Rings TV series for their Prime platform late last year, and it appears the streaming (among other things) giant is willing to sink a significant sum of money into the endeavor. Like, a significant sum.
According to an internal study performed by Reuters, the Lord of the Rings TV series could end up costing the electronic commerce behemoth in the neighborhood of $500 million -- or more -- for the first two seasons alone. While the projection appears to be quite staggering, half of the total, $250 million, was spent on acquiring the rights to make the series in the first place, with the remainder of the projection being attributed to marketing and production costs.
The study performed by Reuters analyzed the metrics for 19 Prime Original series using Amazon's internal documents, which detailed the cost, the viewership and the number of new Prime subscribers drawn in by each series. Amazon's Prime Originals have reportedly accounted for nearly 25% of all new Prime subscriptions from late 2014 through early 2017. Amazon utilizes a metric known as "first stream" to evaluate the success, or failure, of a Prime Original. The metric uses the production and marketing costs of a Prime Original and divides that total by the number of new subscribers who streamed that specific Prime Original as their first series. The lower the number, the better the rating.
The first season of the Prime Original series The Grand Tour drew in over 1.5 million new subscribers, scoring the best rating at $49 per subscriber. Comparing that total with the cost of an Amazon Prime subscription at $99, The Grand Tour is providing some serious bang for its buck.
The projected marketing and production costs on the first two seasons of the Lord of the Rings prequel series are set to be nearly three times what Amazon spent on the Prime Original series The Man in the High Castle, which has a first stream rating of $63 per subscriber. The Lord of the Rings series will need to draw in nearly three times as many new subscribers to net the same yield.
The prequel series remains in the very early stages of its development with no casting information or production details known, though there is reportedly potential for spinoff shows. Additional details will be released as the series enters production.