The James Bond Franchise Could Decide Whether Netflix or Apple Survives the Streaming Wars

James Bond might be about to hit the road.

Netflix’s undisputed reign in the streaming market was fun while it lasted. But the company has seen a ton of competition crop up recently. Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and NBC’s Peacock all either launched in 2019 or will go live in 2020. It is a brave new world, and the name of the streaming game — as we’ve learned — is licensed content.

With only a handful of companies scooping up most streaming rights, the various services are scrambling to see who can secure which brands. Right now, the two most established streaming services — Netflix and Amazon Prime Video — have been focused on developing their own original shows and movies. But in order to survive against the robust libraries of their competitors, even the most popular streaming services need to diversify.

And it’s looking more and more like James Bond could play a huge role in which streaming services survive the coming onslaught.

Posters for the James Bond films 'From Russia with Love' and 'Dr. No'
Posters for the James Bond films ‘From Russia with Love’ and ‘Dr. No’ | Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

The streaming wars continue to intensify

Just as streaming services are looking to beef up their libraries, studios are hoping to make a tidy profit on selling the rights to their content. This — in addition to the greatly enhanced accessibility — is no doubt a factor behind Studio Ghibli’s decision to strike recent deals with HBO Max and Netflix for domestic and international streaming rights, respectively.

Some streaming services — such as Disney+, Peacock, and CBS All Access — are relying mostly on their own in-house content. But most of them don’t own any hit shows or blockbuster movies they haven’t produced themselves. Licensing such projects can be costly. So instead, the streaming game is moving toward bigger moves. And the next big one could involve MGM and its ownership of the James Bond series.

MGM has met with streaming services

According to CNBC, MGM is reaching out to several streaming services who might be interested in acquiring the studio. In particular, the report mentions MGM has entered “preliminary talks” with companies like Netflix and Apple. MGM previously faced bankruptcy in 2010 and is now, CNBC said, likely worth more than $10 billion.

If a streaming service scoops up MGM, such a move could lend a major boost to subscriptions. The studio has a partial ownership in the James Bond franchise — which continues in 2020 with No Time to Die — and those details would have to be worked out. But imagine if Netflix or Apple TV+ was able to market itself as “the exclusive streaming home of 007.”

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What movies would an MGM deal involve?

That’s not even counting other MGM assets, such as cable network Epix and TV series such as Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Speaking strictly to its film library, whoever lands MGM will have an edge as streaming wars continue to gain steam.

In addition to James Bond, MGM is the studio behind other popular movie series. MGM carries the Rocky series (including Creed), George Miller’s Mad Max movies, and countless releases from Hollywood’s golden age. After all, the studio was founded in 1924. So that’s a lot of lavish musicals (Singin’ in the Rain), historical epics (Ben-Hur), and both Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning classics.

Will the MGM deal actually come to pass? It’s very early stages right now, but the big takeaway here is that the studio is apparently on the market. As more and more streaming services enter the picture, such developments will likely be far less frequent. So it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Any streaming service would be lucky to land the likes of James Bond, Rocky Balboa, and Mad Max.