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Amazon Prime Video is downsizing its operations in Africa and the Middle East in a move.

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Amazon Prime Video is downsizing its operations in Africa and the Middle East in a move that will affect the teams in both regions. According to a report from Variety, the company will instead focus on European originals.

Following these changes, Prime Video will stop negotiating for original content in the African and Middle Eastern markets. However, shows that have already been approved will continue as planned.

Additionally, the company plans to split the European team into two groups: EU Established, which will focus on the markets of the UK, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain, and EU Emerging, which will oversee operations in Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg), the Nordic countries, and Central and Eastern Europe, as reported in the Variety article.

"We have carefully reviewed our business to ensure that we continue to prioritize resources on what matters most to customers. I have carefully assessed our structure in the region and decided to make some adjustments to our operating model to rebalance and direct our resources toward areas that generate the maximum impact and long-term success," said Barry Furlong, Vice President of Prime Video Europe, in an email to staff as seen by Variety.

"I have listened to and considered the feedback received across all teams over the past 12 months; I believe these changes will improve the operational functioning of our business in multiple territories and allow us to be more agile and focused," Furlong added.

In a sudden change of direction, this reshuffling comes months after Prime Video announced its strategy to become the largest player in the video streaming market in Africa. This was after signing multi-year licensing agreements with production companies and establishing teams in Nigeria and South Africa.

It's interesting to note that Amazon Prime Video entered the African market in 2016 as part of its global expansion into over 200 countries, posing significant competition to Netflix's simultaneous global launch. Until about 18 months ago, the service in the region lacked local language interfaces, subtitles, and commonly found original content offerings that are prevalent in more developed markets. The launch of the localized version in Nigeria marked a significant step in catering to the preferences and expectations of the African audience.

As the third-largest video streaming platform in Africa, Amazon Prime Video aimed to strengthen its subscriber base in emerging markets by launching localized plans. Although similar plans were introduced in South Africa, the platform had not commissioned any original content in the Middle East. The strategy included increased investments in local production, the introduction of lists of localized originals, and discounts on Amazon Prime subscriptions for customers.

The platform's entry into Africa for original and licensed content garnered interest and success, with films like "Breath of Life" and "Gangs of Lagos" by Jade Osiberu receiving critical acclaim and commercial success. At its peak, Prime Video had over 600,000 subscribers in Africa, according to Digital TV Research, with plans to add 1.5 million new subscribers in the next four years.

Prime Video's withdrawal from local content production leaves a significant gap in the streaming landscape, where competing platforms are aiming to capture the projected 15 million video-on-demand service subscribers in Africa by 2026. Therefore, this new development could redefine the dynamics of the streaming industry in the region, as platforms dedicated to creating local content, primarily Showmax, Netflix, and Canal+, capitalize on Prime Video's reduced presence and may gain market share in the ongoing streaming battle for African content and audiences.