Amazon Prime Video is Loosing in Africa, Laying off Staff Already

Amazon Prime Video, the global streaming giant, is undergoing a substantial restructuring, marked by staff layoffs and a significant reduction in local content production in Africa and the Middle East.

Reports from Variety indicate that the platform is shifting its focus towards European originals, resulting in a downsizing of operations and a reallocation of resources.

As part of this strategic pivot, Amazon Prime Video will no longer fund original content from Nigeria and will cease commissioning new original content in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa. This decision marks a departure from the platform’s previous initiatives that supported notable Nigerian shows such as ‘Gangs of Lagos,’She Must Be Obeyed,’ and ‘LOL: Laugh Out Loud.

Amazon Prime video

While the streamer will discontinue its involvement in commissioning original content, existing shows from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including “LOL ZA” and “Ebuka Turns Up Africa,” will continue as planned. Amazon Prime Video, having initiated operations in Africa in 2016 and expanded into Nigeria in 2021, is undergoing adjustments that will impact both content offerings and personnel across the African and Middle Eastern regions.

According to an email from Barry Furlong, Vice President and General Manager of Prime Video, EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), the decision is driven by a strategic reassessment of the business to prioritize resources based on customer preferences. Furlong emphasized the need to rebalance resources and focus on areas that generate the highest impact and long-term success.

While the restructuring does not affect pre-existing content already approved or contracted, local producers in Africa and the Middle East are feeling the impact of the streamlining measures. Prime Video will continue its operations in Africa and the Middle East, but the changes are prompting adjustments among local industry players.

How Amazon Prime Dream Crashed

Despite Africa’s streaming market projected to reach at least 18 million paying streaming customers by 2029, with Netflix and Showmax leading with a combined 75% market share, streaming penetration remains low. The majority of these customers are concentrated in South Africa and Nigeria, with only 7.7% of African households expected to be paying for at least one of these platforms by 2029.

Amazon Prime’s ambitious goals of becoming the foremost streaming platform in Africa faced a setback, as it aimed to expand its subscriber base from an estimated 575,000 sub-Saharan customers in 2021 to 1.9 million in 2026.

The platform initially made a splash in Africa in December 2021 by hiring substantial staff and forging partnerships with local production studios. However, the current restructuring reflects a recalibration of its strategy, signaling a reevaluation of its approach in the dynamic African and Middle Eastern streaming landscape.

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