Amazon Prime cuts funding and staff in local content in sub-Saharan and North Africa

According to details shared in an email with Prime Video staff, as reported by Variety, the streaming service is planning to halt the approval of local original content in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa in the near term

In 2016, Amazon entered the African streaming market, creating competition against Netflix and other local players. Six years later, Prime Video announced the launch of a localized version of its streaming service in Nigeria. A year after the launch, Gangs of Lagos became its first African original movie

Amazon Prime’s decision to exit North and Sub-Saharan Africa may have been influenced by fierce competition in the streaming market, particularly from Netflix, Showmax, and other players vying for a slice of the rapidly growing audience.

In 2023, Netflix lost its market leader status, with its streaming market share falling to 35%, while Showmax grew to 40% of the video streaming market.

While Ned Mitchell, the head of originals for Africa and the Middle East at Prime Video and Amazon Studios, initially expressed optimism about increasing original content production in the region, the recent communication represents a deviation from Mitchell’s vision. He had originally outlined a plan, “to create…premium content, [that] will attract all African storytellers and crews and talent who want to join us in creating those stories. And if we can get that right, I really don’t think there’s a limit to where we can go next.”

At the time of this report, Mitchell is yet to respond to our comment regarding the cuts.

In spite of its recent move, the streaming platform will proceed with LOL ZA and Ebuka Turns Up Africa, two African originals it has commissioned. 

Furthermore, the platform will maintain its presence in both regions and continue to upload non-original movies.

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