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Amazon Prime Video is building a London-based team for its Nigerian Originals

Three Nigerian actors seem to be reacting to a scene
Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye
Nollywood’s production volume is leading Amazon to set up a team to create original shows.
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Amazon is looking to hire at least three senior executives to help it develop original video content in Nigeria, Africa’s largest film industry.

The listings as they appear on the company’s website as of Apr. 11 are for a senior movies creative, senior scripted series creative, and a head of Nigerian originals. Each role will be based in London but those who hope to get them are expected to bring “an in-depth knowledge of the Nigerian entertainment landscape.”

It is the latest move in Amazon’s investment in expanding its streaming service, available in more than 240 countries, into Nigeria’s vibrant film scene.

Amazon wants film people with Nigerian connections

Like Netflix, Amazon introduced the Nigerian audience to Prime Video by licensing Nollywood movies that had gone through cinema runs. The company is still following that playbook, signing an exclusive licensing deal with Anthill Studios in January, a Lagos-based company behind a couple of well-received movies including Elevator Baby, and Day of Destiny. This was after closing a similar deal in December with Inkblot Studios which produced the commercially successful The Wedding Party films.

But because the global streaming wars will be won with original content and international subscribers will be crucial, Amazon is about to go big on a dedicated Nigeria team for original content.

The roles do not seem reserved for people of Nigerian descent. While they will be based in London, where Amazon’s digital media development center is located, the head of originals will report to Ned Mitchell, Amazon Studios’s head of originals for Africa and the Middle East who is based in Los Angeles, California as Variety reported.

But Amazon expects this person to be well connected with the Nigerian film industry, already boasting relationships with top creators, fluency in Nigerian pidgin and one or more indigenous languages.

Amazon’s Nigerian originals will be catching up to Netflix and Showmax

Whoever they are, Amazon’s hires will have their work cut out in Nigeria where streaming competitors Netflix and Showmax, the South African streaming service, already have a lead on original shows.

Netflix’s first Africa original, Queen Sono, aired in 2020. Last year, it unveiled King of Boys, a seven-episode series, as its first Nigerian original series. The trailer for Blood Sisters, a four-part original show produced by EbonyLife Studios, dropped last week. Showmax’s much anticipated reality show The Real Housewives of Lagos which shows off wealthy Nigerian women also came out last week.

Africa is projected to have 15 million video-on-demand subscribers by 2026, tripling last year’s total. The race by major global players to claim space in the largest and best-known African film industry is testament to the financial promise, but also proof that Nigerians’ investments in their film industry has transformed it into a global powerhouse, or at least a market that global powerhouses must prioritize.

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