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SEEKING SUBSCRIBERS

Amazon Prime Video turns to Nollywood to woo African subscribers

A blue square logo with white text written "prime video."
Reuters/Danish Siddiqui
The logo of the streaming service Amazon Prime Video.
  • Carlos Mureithi
By Carlos Mureithi

East Africa correspondent

Published

With the American market becoming saturated, streaming firms are looking across the globe to gain more subscribers and increase their offerings, typically by investing in partnerships with local studios and developing local content for overseas viewers. Africa, with its population of more than 1 billion people and increasing internet connectivity, presents significant potential.

From next year, Amazon Prime Video will bring its viewers new releases from one of Africa’s top movie studios, thanks to a deal signed earlier this month with Nigerian production company Inkblot. Amazon is joining a small number of video streamers in Africa, notably US streaming giant Netflix and South Africa’s Showmax, in the fight for eyeballs in the continent.

Appie Matere, a Kenyan TV producer with a series on Showmax, says the competition in the African streaming market presents a chance for African content creators to tell African stories to the world from a local perspective. “Amazon, Disney—everybody is talking about [how] all these big players are coming to Africa. We’re hoping we’ll be able also to actually put our footprints on most of these platforms,” she says.

More streaming services will compete in Africa in 2022

While Netflix is set to remain the leader in streaming for the African market, according to a projection through 2026 from London-based business intelligence firm Digital TV Research, there’s going to be fierce competition for the No. 2 spot between local offerings and other US players.

While Showmax has focused on local content from the onset, Netflix, on the other hand, is customizing content for the continent by producing African originals. In August, Netflix premiered Nigeria’s King of Boys: The Return of the King, increasing its lineup of African originals following the earlier releases of Queen Sono and Blood and Water, both from South Africa. Netflix’s 2.6 million African subscribers presently make up 1 percent of its overall subscribers.

Disney+ is expected to officially launch in the continent next year.z

Inkblot produces Nigeria’s high-grossing films

The Inkblot deal is a great get for Amazon.

Nigeria has a thriving film industry known as Nollywood and Inkblot Studios, which was founded in 2010 by Naz Onuzo, Zulumoke Oyibo, Damola Ademola, and Omotayo Adeola, has produced two of the highest-grossing films in the country: The Wedding Party and The Wedding Party 2.

As part of the deal with Inkblot Studios, Amazon Prime Video will get exclusive, worldwide rights to show the studio’s productions after their theatrical runs from next year. Upcoming Inkblot Studios’ films that fall under the deal include The Set Up 2, Moms at War 2, and New Money 3, Charge and Bail, Superstar, and The Blood Covenant.

Inkblot Productions
Inkblot Studios co-founders (from left) Zulumoke Oyibo, Damola Ademola, and Chinaza-Onuzo.

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