Amazon’s Ring, MGM Launch Viral Doorbell Video Show

NEW YORK — Two Amazon companies – Ring and Hollywood studio MGM – are teaming up to create a TV show in the form of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” using viral footage from Ring’s doorbell and smart-home cameras.

The half-hour show, called “Ring Nation,” will be hosted by actor and comedian Wanda Sykes and premier in syndication on Sept. 26, MGM said.

The studio noted that audiences should expect the usual things that go viral: marriage proposals, neighbors rescuing neighbors, and crazy animals.

The series showcases Amazon’s merger of its various branches of business, this time to highlight what MGM called “interesting moments from communities across the country.”

“You have one company that owns two juggernauts and (has) just figured out how to use one against the other,” said Robert Passikoff, president of the brand research firm Brand Keys. He noted that unlike scripted movies or shows, a reality series with Ring imagery will likely be cheaper to produce.

The show also provides a brand opportunity for the Seattle-based e-commerce and retail giant, which bought Ring for $1 billion in 2018 and has addressed the rounds of privacy concerns surrounding Ring and its relationship with law enforcement agencies across the country.

Last month, Amazon revealed that it had provided Ring doorbell footage to law enforcement without user consent 11 times this year — all in response to emergency requests, the company said.

MGM, which bought Amazon for $8.5 billion, said in a statement Thursday that “Ring Nation” will provide the public with “a daily dose of life’s unpredictable, heartwarming and hilarious viral videos” shared by people from their cameras.

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“Many of these have been shared online before,” said Amazon spokesman Nick Schweers. “Others were sent directly to the team.” Ring Nation secures permissions for every video from the owner and anyone identifiable in the video, or from companies that own the rights to the clips, he said.

Amazon’s deal to buy MGM was closed earlier this year, although the Federal Trade Commission has said it still retains discretionary power to challenge it. Big Fish Entertainment, an MGM production company, will also be part of the partnership.

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