Amazon Prime To Retreat From Content Production and Investment In Africa 

Global streaming giant Amazon Prime is set to reduce its investments in Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East & North Africa (MENA). This  move will involve the company downsizing and reducing content production in the affected regions.

Existing projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and MENA, such as Ebuka Turns Up Africa and LOLZA will remain, but no new Originals (movies and series) will be made from these regions.

As part of the new development, the European team will be reorganized into two: EU Established (EU5) and EU Emerging (EUX). Headed by country director for France, Brigitte Ricou-Bellan, EU Established will cover the U.K., Italy, Spain, Germany and France. EU Emerging, led by Ritchie Ordonez, director of Benelux, will focus on expanding businesses in the Benelux Union, the Nordic region, and Central and Eastern Europe.

“We’ve been carefully looking at our business to ensure we continue to prioritize our resources on what matters most to customers,” Prime Video Europe VP Barry Furling noted in an email to staff. “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.”

Barry Furlong stated that the organizational changes became expedient after 12 months of aggregated feedback from the different teams. He believes the changes are a quantum leap, which would “improve the operational running of our multi-territory business and allow us to be more agile and focused.”

Reacting to the decision of Amazon Prime to back off from the African market, journalist and media & communications expert, Anita E. Eboigbe, said:

“Amazon Prime has been largely unserious in the Nigerian (and African) market. They commissioned projects without direction, only to be (almost) saved by Jade Osiberu and BB Sasore. The latter came too late. Secondly, they approached the market like the audience would simply jump on stuff for whatever reason. You almost had to beg them to market their projects. Thirdly, they got some of the good hands in content and acquisition but again, it was unclear what directives these guys were acting on. What was the goal? It became clear sometime towards the end of 2023 that they grossly underestimated the market.”

Marketing expert Edidiong Ekong blamed Amazon Prime for its poor market assessment in Africa. “In emerging markets with high uncertainty and turbulent environment,” he explained, “marketing capabilities and current market performance will continue to be a key yardstick for expansion as well as efficiency, differentiation and success.”

Amazon Prime entered the African market in 2016 but released its first original series Queen Sono from South Africa in 2020. With most of its attention focused on Nigeria and South Africa, its two largest markets in Africa, the streaming platform made partnerships with local production studios in the continent. In Nigeria, three-year exclusive partnership deals were made with Jadesola Osiberu’s Greoh Studios, Niyi Akinmolayan’s Anthill Studios, and Inkblot Productions. This has yielded few rewards, with Osiberu’s Gangs of Lagos being considered as Amazon Prime’s standout production from Nigeria.


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