Amazon entertainment head, Jeff Blackburn, to retire

Amazon Prime Video chief architect Jeff Blackburn is retiring from the e-commerce giant.

For more than 20 years, Blackburn has been a pillar of Amazon, one of the trustees of founder Jeff Bezos.

He joined the Seattle-based company in 1998 after helping the then-bookseller launch its IPO while working at Deutsche Bank. Blackburn’s association with Amazon spans almost a quarter of a century.

Over the years, the popular CEO has helped build important businesses such as Amazon Studios and Prime Video, as well as advertising, music and third-party marketplace businesses.

He took more than a year off, but returned to Amazon in May 2021. Since then, Blackburn has led Amazon’s media and entertainment business, which includes its Culver City-based film and television studio and its music. Podcasts, Listen, Games, Twitch episodes.

“The last 18 months of working with you have been exciting [Global Media and Entertainment] And embarking on some of my biggest and boldest projects in entertainment and sports,” Blackburn wrote in a memo to staff Friday morning. “However, I have decided to spend 2023 differently and spend more time with my family, and I feel very strongly that this is the right decision for me. .”

Before Blackburn rejoined the company, “Amazon media seemed to be trying to find its place in the world,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at consulting firm Enderle Group.

“He seemed to bring some stability and direction to that effort, and at least from an outside observer, it looks like things have gotten better in the media department during his tenure,” Enderl added, referring to Amazon’s efforts to expand its entertainment reach. on football and podcasts.

Mike Hopkins Prime Video, Amazon Studios, and MGMthe company said in a statement. Hopkins will now report directly to chief executive Andy Jassey rather than Blackburn. Director of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke Reporting to Hopkins.

Steve Boom will run the Audible, Twitch and Games businesses in addition to his current portfolio of music and podcasts. Boom will also report to Jassi.

In an email to staff, Jassey noted several major milestones the entertainment unit has made during Blackburn’s tenure over the past year and a half.

Amazon’s JRR Tolkien big swing with the Lord of the Rings franchise“The Lord of the Rings: The Ring of Power”, set videos for Prime Video viewersJassy said in a memo that the series “had more Prime subscriptions worldwide during its launch window than any previous content.”

Amazon’s launch of “Thursday Night Football on Prime” was successful, drawing more viewers than last year’s televised results. Amazon reported an increase in viewership for Thursday night games 20% compared to last season among viewers aged 18-34.

As traditional television audiences continue to shrink as they age, sports leagues are expected to host more games on streaming platforms to fill their fan base.

“Amazon would not be the same company without Jeff, and I thank him for his many contributions to the company’s success today and in the future,” Jassi wrote.

Blackburn will remain at Amazon until early 2023, Jassi said, with the executive transition set to take place on Jan. 1.

Staff writers Wendy Lee and Stephen Battaglio contributed to this report.

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