Help Wanted: Amazon Studios International Execs Talk European Expansion

Variety | 10/14/2019 | Cynthia Littleton
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If there’s a perfect example of Amazon Studios’ strategy with its local-language international TV content, Japan’s “Documental” would be it.

The series revolves around 10 comedians who battle to make one another laugh in an elimination-style competition. James Farrell, Amazon Studios’ head of international originals, said it was a good example of an unconventional idea from a local market that took off. “Documental” ranks high among Amazon Prime Video’s most-watched shows in Japan.

Flier - Farrell - Monday - Keynote - Address

“It was just so crazy, we took a flier on it,” Farrell said Monday during his keynote address with Georgia Brown, Amazon Studios’ head of European originals, on the opening day of the Mipcom confab in Cannes, which runs through Thursday. “It’s one of our top shows there.”

Amazon’s headlong charge into vernacular production in big territories in Europe, Asia and elsewhere was underscored when Farrell and Brown turned their keynote address into a “help wanted” ad for scripted creative executives in Italy and Spain. They went so far as to flash their own email addresses and those of other Amazon executives in the call for job candidates, to the delight of the Mipcom crowd at the Palais.

Anyone - Brown - Moderator - Peter - White

“We’re hiring if anyone is interested,” Brown told moderator Peter White, international co-editor of Deadline. “It’s a fantastic job. Feel free to email me.”

Amazon at present has platforms and budding infrastructure in about 20 major countries. The international outposts of Amazon get about five to 10 shots a year at original series content so they have to be selective and strategic about what they greenlight, Farrell said. “It’s not a quantity play. It’s a quality play,” he said.

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