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Gangs of Streaming

To begin its journey in the Nigerian and African film industry, Amazon Prime, the streaming arm of Amazon.com has finally launched its first African original film dedicated to its Amazon Prime audience and across its network. With the ‘gritty’ film titled Gangs of Lagos, the eCommerce giant has finally ‘thrown its hat in the ring’ in a duel that will see the company lock horns with Netflix in the world’s second-largest movie industry, Nollywood.

Scripted, produced, and presented with the aim of connecting with the exotic culture in one of Lagos’ indigenous communities, Isale Eko, Gangs of Lagos depicted a magnified version of the reality of growing and living in a part of the city that is at the core of Lagos’ evolution and heartbeat as a modern city of culture and enterprise.

While Amazon Prime could have entered the market with a proper TV show, the movie could be a test and a taste of what will come. However, it could further ginger Netflix to come all out in Nigeria, sponsoring more original productions and even making its Basic with Ads subscription available, thereby gaining a larger audience base in Nigeria and across the African continent.

This strategy could intimidate Amazon Prime, a smaller player in the streaming business, to either commit more resources or embrace a production hiatus to fight another day. Whichever outcome, either of the players that first allow advertising on its platform is bound to gain a larger chunk of the Nigerian and perhaps the African market. With Amazon’s speed in testing out business models, Netflix could speed up its timeline to make Nollywood and Africa a major focus for its future growth.