Amazon Prime Video is making a major push in Nigeria, underlining Africa’s most populous nation as one of the key battlegrounds in the streaming wars.
With a marketing drive currently underway and Nigerians now able to subscribe to the service in local currency for the first time, Prime Video on Friday unveiled two Nigerian originals, the first creative results of a series of recent deals.
Feature film Gangs of Lagos is described as a “high-stakes, gritty and hard-hitting action crime-thriller,” centered on a group of friends growing up on the streets of Nigeria’s largest city. Starring Tobi Bakre, Adesua Etomi-Wellington and Chiké, the film was directed and produced by Jade Osiberu, produced by Kemi Lala Akindoju and co-produced by Akin Omotoso. It will launch in Prime Video in Nigeria and internationally later this year.
Unscripted series LOL: Last One Laughing Naijia, meanwhile, sees a group of Nigerian comedians compete to be named the “Last One Laughing.” Hosted by the comedian and entertainer popularly known as Basketmouth, the show will pit 10 well-known comedians against each other to see who will ultimately win by keeping a straight face, while simultaneously trying to make their opponents laugh and lose. The series — which will see a donation made to the winner’s charity of choice — follows the success of this global format already launched on Prime Video in Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, India, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, and will launch in 2023 worldwide.
Both productions come following a series of deals in Nigeria, including an exclusive commissioning slate arrangement with Nemsia Films for three feature films, beginning with Breath of Life, launching next year, and licensing deals with Nigerian production banners Inkblot Studios and Anthill Studios. The two originals were also announced just days after Netflix revealed its latest slate of African originals, which includes The King’s Horseman, due to world premiere in Toronto, from Mo Abudu’s Nigerian production powerhouse Ebonylife Studios that the streamer has a deal with.
“We’re delighted to be increasing our investment in Prime Video for customers in Nigeria, making it a truly localised experience,” said Josh McIvor, Prime Video’s director of international expansion. “From local payment and a full-scale local marketing campaign, to more local content specifically for Nigerian customers, our investment in Nigeria is a significant step towards our broader expansion plans in Africa and our ambition to be the most local of global streaming services.”
Added Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, head of Nigerian originals: “We know our customers want to see locally relevant faces, places and stories alongside our global content on Prime Video, so we’re excited to be bringing Nigerian customers these brand-new Local Amazon Originals, Gangs of Lagos and LOL: Last One Laughing Naija, which will complement our growing selection of Nollywood and African series and movies.”