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Amazon Prime Set to Layoff Staff and to Stop Producing African Content

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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The news that Amazon Prime will be laying off staff and putting a pause on producing African content was met with intense criticism. The new plan for African contents came as a shock, as the company had reiterated its plans to become the main streaming platform in Africa and the Middle East.

Why the sudden change in Amazon Prime views on African content? Why is Amazon laying off staff? In this content, we’ll be reviewing the reasons behind Amazon Prime’s decision and examining its potential advantages and disadvantages.

Why is Amazon Laying off Staff?

On Thursday, January 18, 2024, news broke out that global streaming platform Amazon Prime, is stopping production of local contents in Africa, a year and four months after it’s launch. According to Prime Video, this is all part of restructuring its business model and shifting focus to its European market. 

In 2023, the global streaming platform Prime Video increased its investment in Nigeria by announcing two local Amazon originals for Nigerian customers, Gangs of Lagos and LOL: Last One Laughing Naija.

In an email to the local staff, Barry Furlong, vice president of Prime’s EMEA division, says that the decision was made to help the business shift focus to areas with the highest impact and long-term success. Possible reasons for the cutback on African content include a lack of access to reliable internet and the necessary devices for streaming.

Also, the dominance of Netflix and Showmax as the leading streaming platforms in Africa poses a formidable challenge for Amazon to establish its foothold. Amazon’s recent choice to cut back on its investment in Africa and the Middle East deals a notable blow to the region’s creative industries.

In the past, Amazon’s investments were vital in boosting the creation of top-notch African content. Now, with Amazon stepping back, the fate of these productions is uncertain. This decision raises concerns about the continued growth and support for local talent and creativity in the affected regions.

Amazon Prime Video is planning to cut jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa after a consultation period, and the staff members in the region have been informed about this news. This decision comes as the streaming platform is restructuring its operations and reducing its budget and workforce in Africa and the Middle East.  

Also read: Multichoice Appoints Zappia as the New Chairman of Showmax

Will Prime Video Continue To Operate In Africa?

The streaming platform will continue to operate in the region. However, the restructuring might mean a complete halt on locally produced content from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Several projects were already in progress, including “LOL ZA,” “Ebuka Turns Up Africa,” and Tiwa Savage’s “Water and Garri,” all receiving the green light before the recent announcement. Despite the new development, these initiatives will continue to move forward as the approval for them was granted before the announcement.

Prime Video is joining a growing list of multinationals adapting to Nigeria’s challenging economic environment. To survive, most of these companies have to either relocate or restructure their presence in the market. This move aligns with a broader trend as companies navigate economic uncertainties.

According to Digital TV research, Africa’s streaming market will reach 18 million subscribers by 2029. While Prime Video is a key player, it trails behind leaders like Netflix and Showmax.

The evolving economic landscape continues to prompt multinational corporations to reassess their investment strategies in the Nigerian market. 

Also read: Is Your Job Next?: 11 Industries that AI Will Kill First in 2024

What’s The Effect Of This Decision?

These developments have cast a shadow of uncertainty over production companies, such as Jade Osiberu’s Greoh Studios. Greoh Studios signed a promising three-year deal with Amazon Prime Video but with recent restructuring, the studio is now navigating potential challenges. This exclusive agreement was crafted to produce and develop TV shows and movies specifically for Prime Video. 

Also, Inkblot, another player in the industry, is facing an uncertain future after entering into a multi-year deal with Amazon Prime Video. This collaboration marked a groundbreaking achievement as it stood as the first licensing agreement between the streaming giant and an African production company.

The agreement was important because Amazon got special rights all over the world for Inkblot’s movies after they were shown in theaters. This included well-liked movies like “The Set Up 2,” “Moms at War 2,” and “New Money 3.” Also, the deal covered new movies in the works, such as ‘Charge and Bail,’ ‘Superstar,’ and ‘The Blood Covenant.’ Now, the fate of these projects is uncertain because of recent changes.

Also read: More Layoffs are Coming, Sundar Pichai Warns Google Staff

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Amazon Prime laying off staff?

Amazon Prime is undergoing strategic adjustments to adapt to the dynamic streaming industry. The decision to lay off staff is due to the need to streamline operations, optimize resources, and maintain competitiveness in an evolving market.

How will the layoffs impact the overall user experience on Amazon Prime?

While staff layoffs may raise concerns, Amazon Prime is committed to ensuring a seamless user experience. The platform aims to leverage technological advancements, data-driven insights, and strategic partnerships to continue delivering high-quality content and services to its global audience.

Will there be any impact on existing African content available on Amazon Prime?

While new African content production may be on hold, existing content on Amazon Prime is expected to remain accessible.

Conclusions

The decision by Amazon Prime to lay off staff and halt the production of African content reflects the complex and evolving landscape of the streaming industry. While it raises concerns about job losses and diversity in content offerings, it also underscores the need for adaptability in a rapidly changing market.

References 

  • techcabal.com – Amazon Prime to layoff staff and stop producing African content
  • variety.com – Prime Video Cuts Funding in Africa, Middle East in Favor of Focusing on European Originals
  • zikoko.com – Prime Video Stays in Africa, but Stops Funding Original Local Content.

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Blessing Ukibe
Blessing Ukibe

Medical Student at Nnamdi Azikiwe University|Tech content expert at Silicon Africa Technology|Lover of fun books and fun fun ☺️

Articles: 90

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