Amazon Prime to lay off and end African content production amid Showmax dominance

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January 18, 2024
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2 min read
  • Africa’s third-largest streaming platform, Amazon Prime Video, is reportedly reducing its headcount and local content production in sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa to focus on the European market.
  • Although the exact number of affected employees is unknown, Vice President of Prime's EMEA division, Barry Furlong, stated that the decision aims to focus efforts on areas that will have the biggest impact and long-term success. 
  • Even though authorised programmes will still air, Amazon Prime will no longer accept local content. However, Prime Video will still function in North Africa, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2016, Amazon Prime Video made its debut in Africa. However, it was not until 2020 that the streaming platform released its first original series from the continent, "Queen Sono." 

Since then, Amazon Prime has been extending its reach throughout Africa to sign agreements with the best performers on the continent. 

However, the platform's decision to exit North and sub-Saharan Africa may have been influenced by fierce competition in the streaming market, particularly from Netflix and Showmax 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.

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For context, while Amazon Prime ranked third, Netflix lost its dominant position in the African streaming market to Showmax, which had 1.8 million subscribers as of August 2023. After reaching 400,000 subscribers in its first two years on the continent, Netflix has added 1.2 million in the last four years.

Nonetheless, it seems that Showmax is giving Netflix and other streaming services a little leeway to dominate the market with the introduction of its New Showmax

Besides, Netflix and Showmax have significantly invested in local content creation and acquisition, tailoring their services to many regional tastes and language requirements.

Reports show that during the fiscal year that ended in 2023, Showmax, which began concentrating only on the African market on December 1, 2023, strategically invested $1 billion in content production and acquisition in Africa, with a particular focus on bolstering its local content offerings in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Netflix, on the other hand, announced in April 2023 that it planned to expand its operations on the continent, having invested €160 million ($173 million) in African film content production since 2016. 

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She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
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She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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