Ayanna Lonian (Director of Content Acquisition & Head of WW Major Studio Licensing Strategy at Prime Video), Ned Mitchell (Head of Originals for Africa & Middle East) and Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu (Head of Nigerian Originals)
Amazon Prime Video is wasting no time in augmenting its investment in Nigeria by unveiling its first Nigerian originals on Friday, making it the first creative results of a series of recent deals.
The two originals, action flick Gangs of Lagos and unscripted series LOL: Last One Laughing Naija, were 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, with which the streamer has a deal.
The local Prime Video service, priced at 2,300NGN ($5.50) per month, also includes global original series and movies and Hollywood and Nollywood titles.
Adesua Etomi-Wellington: Gangs of Lagos
Feature film Gangs of Lagos is described as a “a high-stakes, gritty, and hard-hitting action crime-thriller, with an authentic storyline centred on a group of friends who each have to navigate destiny, growing up on the bustling streets and neighbourhood of Isale Eko, Lagos,” featuring “elaborate set pieces, action scenes, and engaging dialogue, balanced out by its high-octane pace and an emotionally grounded story at its core.”
The show stars Tobi Bakre, Adesua Etomi-Wellington and Chiké. “Gangs of Lagos” is directed and produced by Jade Osiberu, Kemi Lala Akindoju and co-produced by Akin Omotosho.
On the other hand, Unscripted series LOL: Last One Laughing Naija 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.
“LOL: Last One Laughing Naija” is filmed and produced in Nigeria by Livespot360. It follows the success of the format, which has already launched in Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, India, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The show will launch next year.
Other exclusive licensing agreements include deals with Nigerian production studios Inkblot Studios and Anthill Studios, where Prime Video gets their movies after theatrical release. The deal includes such titles as box office hit “King of Thieves,” “Superstar,” “Progressive Tailors Club,” “Bad Comments” and “Badamasi.”
“We’re delighted to be increasing our investment in Prime Video for customers in Nigeria, making it a truly localized 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.”
Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, head of Nigerian originals at Prime Video, added: “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.
The news signals our continued commitment to the Nigerian TV and film industry, bringing the very best of authentic, homegrown stories to not only our customers in Nigeria, but also Prime Video members around the world.”