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The two-decade Amazon veteran will now lead a new global entertainment group that will combine oversight of music, audio entertainment, games and video for the company. The news was announced Thursday via an internal memo from Andrew Jassy and Mike Hopkins.
The new structure will see Blackburn lead a combined entertainment organization that covers Amazon Studios, Prime Video, Twitch, the company’s Games Studio, podcasts and more. He will report to Jeff Bezos until the CEO steps down from the role in the third quarter, at which point he will be one of Jassy’s direct reports. Hopkins, Steve Boom, Don Katz, Mike Frazzini and Emmett Shear will report Blackburn, who will return to Amazon on June 7.
Blackburn’s return is not expected to change much for Hopkins or Amazon Studios head Jen Salke, though his new position will eventually create an additional layer of executive between between Jassy and Amazon’s entertainment platform. The consolidation will provide Jassy — who has no experience in Hollywood — with a seasoned point person who is intimately familiar with Amazon’s Prime Video and studio as well as other entertainment assets. Jassy was a relatively unknown player to film and TV execs and creatives when he was tapped Feb. 2 to replace Bezos.
Here are memos from Hopkins and Jassy:
Please see Andy’s note below which announces great news for Amazon and in particular Prime Video and Amazon Studios: Jeff Blackburn is returning to Amazon to lead an exciting new organization that will put music, audio entertainment, games and video all inside one new global group.
As we all know, Jeff has deep roots at Amazon and a unique understanding of our business. With the creation of Jeff’s new role as Head of Global Media and Entertainment, we’re presented with tremendous opportunities for collaboration and innovation. Jeff will not only be a great ally and supporter; he will help achieve synergies across our media and entertainment businesses.
As Andy points out, the best time for change is from a position of strength — and we’re hitting on all cylinders. Last quarter marked our most successful awards season to date. We’ve recently launched three hugely successful global films with Borat, Coming 2 America and Without Remorse; Prime Video will become the first streaming service to offer an exclusive NFL package in 2022 with Thursday Night Football; over 175 million Prime members have streamed shows and movies in the past year; streaming hours are up more than 70% year over year; and our marketplace businesses — TVOD and Channels — are seeing incredible growth.
I’m so proud of all that we’ve accomplished and can’t wait for all that lies ahead. Please join me in welcoming Jeff back to the company.
I wanted to share the good news that Jeff Blackburn has decided to return to Amazon as SVP of a new Global Media & Entertainment organization that will include Prime Video and Amazon Studios, Music, Podcasts/Wondery, Audible, Games, and Twitch.
Many of you know Jblack from his previous time with the company. He joined Amazon in 1998 after helping guide the company through its IPO at Deutsche Bank. He did a lot of building over two-plus decades, including our 3P marketplace, Advertising, Amazon Studios/Prime Video, Music, A9/Search, and our Corp Dev org (M&A and BizDev teams).
Jblack’s interest in returning to Amazon presented us with a good opportunity to combine our entertainment businesses in a single org under a leader who knows them well. Often, the best time to make org changes is when things are going well. Fortunately, each of these businesses is on a very positive path—Amazon Studios was recently nominated for 12 Oscars (and won 2 of them!), Prime Video has had 175 million prime members stream shows and movies in the past year and just won the rights to be the exclusive home of NFL Thursday Night Football starting in 2022. Twitch has grown dramatically over the past 15 months and our Games Studio is launching its highly-anticipated game, “New World,” this summer. Music continues to grow quickly and has launched Podcasts now in 10 countries, and Audible Original, “The Sandman,” became the bestselling original in Audible’s history (with a second installment later this year)—these are just a few of the many successes and milestones for these businesses. We believe that bringing them together will help us innovate for creators even more quickly, coherently, and across multiple mediums.
Jblack will report to Jeff B until the transition in Q3, and then he’ll report to me. Mike Hopkins, Steve Boom, Don Katz, Mike Frazzini, and Emmett Shear will report into Jblack when he starts on June 7th.
Please feel free to share the news with your teams as you wish.
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