With no prior warning, Prime Video has cut its investment in the African market.
According to an email seen by foreign publications, Amazon has confirmed its streaming business operations and funding will mainly focus on its European content division.
Here is what have been able to gather so far as of the time of this reporting.
- Head of Originals for Africa and the Middle East Ned Mitchell and Director of Content Acquisition and Head WW Major Studio Licensing Strategy Ayanna Ionian have been restructured to new roles.
- Director of Prime Video Africa, Gideon Khobean confirmed to be affected and exited his role he began just under 7 months ago.
- African MGM Studios/Prime Video Executives are confirmed to be laid off including the Nigerian Head of Originals, Head of Scripted South Africa and Junior teams.
- Already greenlighted slate to go ahead for roll-out i.e Ebuka Takes Africa, Water and Garri
- The budget for the Acquisition of African titles has been slashed significantly, meaning no new orders
- The number of Licensed titles to be done every year might be impacted
- Several African-licensed titles from last year agreements are yet to be dated and may either be jettisoned or be part of the last batch released before this restructuring takes place.
- The official state of disinvestment might be stated in a press statement which is still yet to be given.
Jade Osiberu Overall Exclusive Deal: It is unclear how many titles have been greenlit from this deal but it seems at least two titles will be released from this deal signed in 2022 when investment ramped up on the continent.
Nemsia 3 picture slate: Breath of Life is 1 out of 3 picture deal announced June 2022. After 30 is the second title under this deal, which has been fully approved and funded. Whilst the last of the picture in this slate is yet to be revealed and is unclear how and when the roll out will be executed.
Inkblot and Anthill Studios Output deal: This output contract signed in 2021 and 2022 has passed its mid mark and sees each production company release no less than 5 titles in a calendar year on the streamer.
How this news will impact these deals and the industry going forward remains unclear
Global Cuts in New Markets
Prime Video Southeast Asia also faced the severe impact of restructuring last week. Though its VP of Asia Pacific, Gaurav Gandh remains, there was a major reduction in headcount at the Singapore office, with almost all staff from the business exiting.
In a press release, Amazon confirmed that programs and films from the region set to launch for this year and 2025 or in production are unaffected. They will continue to filter through, but no new originals are coming.
Prime Video Southeast Asia has now moved to a model of licensing local and pan-regional content — particularly from South Korea, the Japanese anime market and India — alongside its U.S. offering.
Prime Video officially launched in the Nigerian market back in August 2022 and has fully operated in the market for under 3 years. Its branded originals are Gangs of Lagos, Last One Laughing, She Must Be Obeyed and Breath of Life
We will share more updates about this decreased investment and what it means for the industry as soon as we have more.