TBI Tech & Analysis: What lies behind Amazon’s originals exit in Southeast Asia?

Prime Video original ‘Comedy Island: Indonesia’ (Source: Amazon)

With Amazon’s streamer Prime Video cutting investment in Southeast Asia and eliminating roles in its Singapore-based originals team as part of a swathe of recently announced global cuts, Omdia’s Jun Wen Woo digs into the company’s shifting strategy in the region.

Prime Video’s content strategy in Southeast Asia continues to evolve, with a shift in focus from original production to content licensing.

The move follows recent news of restructuring and job cuts across its film and TV operations, MGM and Prime Video, with further job cuts expected for Prime Video in the region.

Japan and India, however, remain the key focus for Amazon in Asia Pacific, so the company’s strategy in these two markets remains unchanged.

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Impact assessment and outlook

Prime Video launched in Southeast Asia as part of its global expansion in December 2016.

Despite being an early entrant to the market, the service has not been able to attract subscribers from the region due to a lack of localisation.

Before August 2022, the streamer had no local language interface, subtitles or local content. Indeed, Amazon’s market share remains small in the region compared with other global competitors such as Netflix and Disney+.

The online video market is getting overcrowded in the region, so it is becoming challenging for services to become profitable with increased spending on local content production.

For long-term success of the streaming video business, services are reducing programming costs and shifting focus to diversify revenue stream, for example, with advertising.

Disney+ and Netflix had introduced an ad-supported tier by the end of 2022, but this feature is yet to be available in Southeast Asian markets.

Amazon Prime Video will stay relevant in the region, even though the service will not be the top streaming service in the region. It is likely to be primarily driven by audiences interested to its exclusive content.

The excerpt above comes from Omdia’s ‘TV & Video Industry Developments Impact Brief – January 2024’, by Jun Wen Woo, senior analyst for TV & online video, which can be read in full here (with a subscription). Omdia and TBI are both part of Informa Tech.

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