Friday, August 5, 2022

Amazon Prime Video does first Nigerian original commissions for Gangs of Lagos and LOL: Last One Laughing Naija, enables payment in local naira currency.

by Thinus Ferreira

Amazon Prime Video on Friday announced that the global streaming service has commissioned its first Nigerian original film, Gangs of Lagos as well as a local series version of LOL: Last One Laughing Naija, whilst enabling Nigerians to now pay in the local Naija currency for the service.

Gangs of Lagos as a film will be released on Amazon Prime Video later this year and LOL: Last One Laughing Naija as a series will be released on Amazon Prime Video in 2023.

Amazon Prime Video Nigeria describes Gangs of Lagos as 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".

Amazon says Gangs of Lagos will "feature elaborate set pieces, action scenes, and engaging dialogue, balanced out by its high-octane pace and an emotionally grounded story at its core".

Gangs of Lagos stars Tobi Bakre, Adesua Etomi-Wellington, and Chiké, is directed and produced by Jade Osiberu, produced by Kemi Lala Akindoju and co-produced by Akin Omotoso also producing original content for Netflix Africa.

LOL: Last One Laughing Naija is an unscripted series, where a group of comedians compete to be the "last one laughing".

The show has Basketmouth as presenter, who will pit 10 famous Nigerian comedians against one another to see who will ultimately win by trying to make their opponents laugh and lose.

LOL: Last One Laughing Naija is filmed and produced in Nigeria, and produced by Livespot360. It follows the success of the Amazon Prime Video global format already launched in Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, India, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, and will launch in 2023.

The unscripted series will showcase authentic Nigerian comedy from top Nigerian comedic talent, and will launch next year on Amazon Prime Video worldwide.

Both local productions build on recent film deals made by Amazon Prime Video, including an exclusive commissioning slate deal with Nemsia Films for three feature films, beginning with Breath of Life, launching next year. 

Other exclusive licencing agreements include deals with Nigerian production studios Inkblot Studios as well as Anthill Studios, bringing Amazon Prime Video customers exclusive access to their movies after theatrical release, such as King of Thieves, Superstar, Progressive Tailors Club, Bad Comments, and Badamasi, which are currently available to watch.

"We're delighted to be increasing our investment in Amazon Prime Video for customers in Nigeria, making it a truly localised experience," says Josh McIvor, director of international expansion at Amazon Prime Video, in a statement released on Friday.

"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 Amazon Prime Video and who joinedAmazon recently after jumping unannounced from MultiChoice Africa as yet another high-profile top executive exit from the pan-African satellite pay-TV service, says in the statement that "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 Amazon Prime Video members around the world."