Amazon is putting surveillance footage captured by its Ring cameras toward a new TV show, demonstrating the economywide reach of one of America’s most powerful companies.
Hollywood studio MGM, which Amazon bought this year, will use footage from Ring, which Amazon bought in 2018, to create a show in the mold of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” The half-hour show, called “Ring Nation,” will be hosted by actor and comedian Wanda Sykes and premier in syndication on September 26, MGM said.
The show will highlight what MGM called “interesting moments from communities across the country.” The studio said that audiences should expect to see the usual viral fare — marriage proposals, neighbors saving neighbors and silly animals.
Ring doorbells and smart-cameras have been criticized over the years for normalizing constant surveillance, invading people’s privacy and having lax security practices that have allowed camera systems to be hacked.
The company partners with more than 400 police departments across the nation. Last month, Amazon revealed it had provided Ring doorbell footage to law enforcement 11 times this year without the users’ permission — all in response to emergency requests, according to the company.
“Heartwarming and hilarious”
The show presents a branding and marketing opportunity for the Seattle-based e-commerce and retail giant as it moves deeper into the entertainment area.
MGM, which Amazon purchased for $8.5 billion, said in a statement Thursday that “Ring Nation” will offer audiences “daily dose of life’s unpredictable, heartwarming and hilarious viral videos” shared by people from their cameras.
“Many of these have been previously shared online,” Amazon spokesperson Nick Schweers said. “Others were sent directly to the team.” Ring Nation secures permissions for each video from the owner and anyone identifiable in the video, or from companies that hold the rights to the clips, he said.
Amazon’s deal to purchase MGM was closedthough the Federal Trade Commission has said it still retains discretion to challenge it. Big Fish Entertainment, a production company owned by MGM, will also be part of the partnership.