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Stakeholders Criticize Prime Video’s Funding Cut for African Films

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Prime Video’s decision to cut funding and cease commissioning of films has drawn criticism from stakeholders in the film industry, particularly impacting the African film and television sector. The streaming platform, known for its global reach, has reportedly downsized its operations in Africa and the Middle East, reallocating resources to focus on European originals.

Vice President and General Manager of Prime Video, EMEA, Barry Furlong, explained this strategic shift, emphasizing the need to prioritize resources on aspects that matter most to customers. This move has raised concerns among Nollywood stakeholders, with notable titles like ‘Gangs of Lagos,’ ‘She Must Be Obeyed,’ and ‘LOL: Laugh Out Loud’ commissioned by Prime Video potentially being the last for African subscribers.

While the restructuring won’t impact pre-existing content, the decision to halt funding for original content in Nigeria and cease commissioning new projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa has stirred discontent. Founder of Coal City Film Festival, Uche Agbo, expressed dissatisfaction, highlighting the impact on film producers and urging industry leaders to take a stand.

Amidst discussions about the repercussions, filmmaker Mykel Parish Ajaere points out the challenge of piracy for streaming platforms in Africa. He suggests that addressing issues like password sharing and piracy is crucial, emphasizing the need for the continent to prioritize its own market.

In the midst of these changes, the film industry is urged to explore alternative strategies, such as strategic theatre releases, campus tours, YouTube, and TV markets across Africa. Stakeholders are encouraged to seek inward solutions for revenue generation and negotiate a more equitable position in the global market, focusing on the long-term growth of the industry.

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