Amazon studio plans lightweight show of Ring surveillance footage

Enlarge / Amazon combines its infinite reach with its constant monitoring, but for fun.

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For some people, the term “Ring Nation” might conjure up a dystopia of warrantless surveillance overseen by an omnipotent megacorporation. At MGM, owned by Amazon, Nation Ring is a music video show hosted by comedian Wanda Sykes, featuring dancing delivery men and adorable pets.

Deadline reports that the show, which is set to debut Sept. 26, is “the latest example of corporate synergy at Amazon.” Amazon owns home video security brand Ring, Hollywood studio MGM, and Big Fish, producer of Nation Ring

Viral videos captured by doorbell cameras have been hot for a while now. You can see them on late-night talk shows, the r/CaughtOnRing subreddit, and on the For You page of millions of TikTok users. Amazon media properties, perhaps sensing an opportunity to capitalize on and soften Ring’s image, are coming out with an official branded offering.

Nation Ring will feature “neighbors saving neighbors, marriage proposals, military reunions, and silly animals,” Deadline writes. But Nation Ring could aim even higher, according to Ring founder Jamie Siminoff, towards something approaching a balm for our deeply divided nation.

“Bringing together new community is core to our mission at Ring, and Ring Nation is giving friends and family a fun new way to spend time together,” Siminoff told Deadline. “We are thrilled to have Wanda Sykes join Ring Nation to share people’s memorable moments with viewers.”

Ring sharing its owners’ moments with other viewers has been a contentious issue. The surveillance company recently admitted to giving police access to Ring recordings without user consent for “emergency” requests. Ring has partnered with more than 600 law enforcement agencies to encourage installations of Ring in communities and facilitate police access to images. Ring has since made it easier to turn off police requests.

Ring owners already had an easier way to share clips, mostly of crimes or suspected crimes, through the Neighbors app. This essentially reveals your location on a granular level. Responding to requests from Congress in the past, Ring has cited users as being responsible for violating their neighbors’ privacy, noting that it includes stickers and signs that comply with some states’ public record policies.

Nation Ring the producer Big Fish is also, incidentally, the producer of live DP, the detective series was canceled after the murder of George Floyd and the resulting protests, but the show was recently revived.

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