Prime Video Is Cutting Its African Funding

The African operations of Prime Video are about to take a hit. Part of a new content strategy that

Prime Video Is Cutting Its African Funding

The African operations of Prime Video are about to take a hit. Part of a new content strategy that not only affects Africa alone, but also in the Middle East, is the streamer reconfiguring its international business model in favor of European originals.

The implications are quite dire, as it will see a scaling down on local content in these regions and laying off of staff. Pre-existing content slated for the streamer (greenlit or contracted) remains unaffected by the new overhaul. Prime Video will no longer commission original content in Africa, the Middle East and North Africa any time soon — based on an email seen by Variety.

“We have been carefully looking at our business to ensure we continue to prioritize our resources on what matters most to customers,” said Barry Furlong, Vice President and General Manager, Prime Video, EMEA in the email . “I have carefully evaluated our structure in the region and decided to make some adjustments to our operating model to rebalance and pivot our resources to focus on the areas that drive the highest impact and long-term success.

I have listened and considered the feedback received across the teams over the past 12 months; I believe these changes will improve the operational running of our multi-territory business and allow us to be more agile and focused.”

Prime Video will remain operational in Africa and the Middle East, but the impact of the decision is being felt among local producers. “A very sad day for the African film and television industry as Amazon Prime halts its funding into originals from the continent,” said South African bestselling author and SAFTA-winning filmmaker, Brett Ahlers-Innes, on Facebook. “I had two projects gearing up to go up with them so this hits hard.

Projects which, beyond my personal ambitions, were roles and employment opportunities for some wonderful humans. Wishing my friends and colleagues strength as we regroup, both the filmmakers and the local Amazon staff who poured so much of their hearts into trying to get these projects off the ground.”

More implications will invite competitor, Netflix, to gain more ground in the African streaming market.

Prime Video entered the African market in 2016, introducing itself as a new player to rival Netflix and other streamers. In 2022, it doubled down on this by launching in Nigeria and working with local storytellers to greenlight original titles like Jade Osiberu’s Gangs of Lagos. It remains Prime Video’s first African original movie.


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