Jeff Blackburn, one of Amazon’s most senior and longest-serving executives, returns to the company after a short hiatus to become senior vice president of a new Global Media & Entertainment division.
The role makes Blackburn Amazon’s most powerful person in Hollywood, overseeing Prime Video and Amazon Studios, as well as Amazon’s music, podcast and gaming businesses.
“Jblack’s interest in returning to Amazon presented us with a great opportunity to combine our entertainment business into a single organization under a leader who knows them well,” said Andy Jassy, Amazon Web Services CEO and CEO-to-be. from Amazon, said in a memo.
Amazon has aggressively ramped up its investment in media and entertainment, spending $11 billion on TV series, movies and music in 2020, up 41 percent from its investment in 2019.
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Amazon Studios has allocated at least $465 million for the first season of “Lord of the Rings” alone, an unprecedented budget for a streaming show.
The company has also increased its investment in Prime Video, which now has more than 175 million members worldwide and recently won the exclusive rights to NFL Thursday Night Football from 2022.
Blackburn, who joined Amazon in 1998 and played a key role in growing its media business, took a one-year sabbatical in 2020 before leaving the company in February this year. He will return to the company on June 7 and will report to CEO Jeff Bezos until Bezos hands over the reins to Jassy in the summer.