Amazon Prime Video is said to be downsizing its Africa and Middle East operations in a move that will affect teams in the two regions, according to a Variety report that said the company will instead focus on European originals.
Following the changes, Prime Video will stop contracting originals in Africa and Middle East markets. However, shows given a go-ahead will continue as planned.
Additionally, the company plans to split the European team into two groups: the EU Established to focus on the U.K., Germany, Italy, France and Spain markets and EU Emerging to oversee operations in Benelux, the Nordics and CEE, the report said.
“We’ve been carefully looking at our business to ensure we continue to prioritize our resources on what matters most to customers. 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,” said Prime Video Europe VP Barry Furlong according to an email to staff seen by Variety.
“I have listened and considered the feedback received across the teams over the past 12 months; I believe these changes will improve the operational running of our multi-territory business and allow us to be more agile and focused,” Furlong said.
In a sharp turn of events, the shakeup comes months after Prime Video claimed to have laid out a strategy to become the biggest video streaming player in Africa, after it signed multi-year licensing agreements with production companies and set up teams in Nigeria and South Africa.
In 2016, Amazon Prime Video launched in Africa as part of its global push across more than 200 countries worldwide, bringing some serious competition to Netflix’s global plan launched that same year. Versions of the service available in the region at the time didn’t feature local-language interfaces, subtitling, and original content offerings typical in more developed markets until more than 18 months ago when it launched the localized version of its streaming service in one of Africa’s biggest markets: Nigeria.
According to the video streaming platform, which is the third largest in Africa after Showmax and Netflix, this was an attempt to boost its subscriber push in emerging markets — it subsequently launched similar localized plans in South Africa but had not yet commissioned any originals in the Middle East — by increasing its investment in local production, unveiling slates of localized originals and introducing discounted Amazon Prime membership offerings to customers.
Its entrance into Africa to produce original and licensed content came with much fanfare as movies such as Jade Osiberu’s Gangs of Lagos’ and Breath of Life achieved commercial success and critical acclaim.
Before its exit, Prime Video was vying for Africa’s 2026-projected 15 million video-on-demand subscribers alongside other streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, Canal+ and Showmax. It had over 600,000 subscribers in Africa, according to Digital TV Research, an analytics firm, Prime Video, and planned to add 1.5 million new subscribers over the next four years. But with its exit, there’s an opportunity for other streaming platforms to gain market share amid a streaming war for African content and eyeballs, which has so far proved unprofitable.