Prime Video Nigeria seeks unscripted
Amazon’s Prime Video in Nigeria is looking for talent-led unscripted shows and formats as it continues to build out its nascent originals strategy in the country, according to Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu.
Speaking on a panel at Mipcom this week, the head of Nigerian originals for Prime Video, Amazon Studios, said that given how advanced the Nollywood scripted production sector is, unscripted likely presents the largest growth area.
“The biggest opportunity for us is really in unscripted,” she said. “The most important thing is being able to tell the stories the local talent wants to tell in the way they want to tell them. And being able to add extra value and help with production values with those technical things that will super-size Nollywood and Nigeria to the world. I think the time is now.”
Mba-Uzoukwu added that she is on the hunt for “new, groundbreaking, simple, relatable unscripted content” that is “localised for Nigeria, unique to Nigeria or can be adapted for Nigeria.” The content must also “help us see a bit more about who Nigerians are and not some of the stereotypes that exist.”
Among the new unscripted titles coming out of Nigeria is Ebuka Turns Up Africa, produced by Rapid Blue Productions Nigeria. The show follows Nigerian star Ebuka Obi-Uchendu as he and a group of friends travel across Africa and take part in adrenaline-fueled activities.
While Amazon is looking for new unscripted projects, scripted remains an area of interest for Prime Video in Nigeria following the success of crime drama feature Gangs of Lagos.
Mba-Uzoukwu was speaking alongside Ned Mitchell, head of African and Middle East originals, Amazon MGM Studios, who has been spearheading the strategy on the continent for the past couple of years.
To date, Prime Video has focused its African strategy on Nigeria and South Africa. Mitchell touted the tech giant’s “long-term commitment” to the market and said the plan is to expand into other African countries in the future. He wouldn’t, however, be drawn on which additional African markets Amazon is looking to develop and produce originals in.
“Africa is so huge; we wouldn’t dare paint it with a single brush. It’s hundreds of languages and dialects, cultures and belief systems, so for us, Nigeria and South Africa are a great fertile place to start and to really build our home for talent,” he said.
“We’re hard at work building a pretty large slate of originals, and we also have great stuff coming into Prime Video through licensing routes as well.
“What we’re doing on the originals side to really complement that are these really big, splashy, loud scripted and unscripted series and movies that have some of the biggest stars in the country, that take this bespoke approach that we took with Ebuka Turns Up Africa, where it’s someone who has a unique insight, a unique fanbase and someone who wants to speak to the audience in a new way. Our process is slowly but surely developing that.”