The streaming platform will cease to greenlight local content within Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa, redirecting its resources and strategies to prioritise the European market.
By Emmanuel Okoro
Digital streaming powerhouse, Amazon Prime Video, has announced a significant scale-down in funding for local content and staff cuts within Africa. This decision, outlined in an internal email, reveals that the streaming platform will cease to greenlight local content within Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa, redirecting its resources and strategies to prioritise the European market.
Shows from Africa that have already been approved, such as “Ebuka Turns Up Africa” and “LOL ZA” will still proceed as planned. However, the company will no longer pursue new local originals for the foreseeable future. Despite the scaling down of operations, Prime Video will continue to operate in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa. However, the decision will result in redundancies within local teams.
In the internal email, Barry Furlong, Vice-President of Prime Video Europe, stated, “We’ve been carefully looking at our business to ensure we continue to prioritise our resources on what matters most to customers. 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.”
This recent development is particularly shocking, as Prime Video had been actively investing in Africa and the Middle East. Last year, the company established dedicated country teams for Nigeria and South Africa, while signing multi-year partnerships with local studios such as Anthill, Greoh, and Inkblot, and spearheading 2023 movie productions such as Jade Osiberu’s Gangs of Lagos, and BB Sasore’s Breath of Life.
However, this strategic shift comes in the wake of Prime Video’s recent layoffs, including dropping original productions in Southeast Asia, cutting down its Singaporean and North American staff, including a 35% reduction of its workforce on its livestream platform, Twitch.