×

Shaping Amazon Prime Video’s European Content Plans

Amazon has big programming ambitions for its Prime Video service in Europe and Georgia Brown is tasked with making them a reality. The former BBC Worldwide and FremantleMedia executive joined the streamer last year as its first director of original television for Europe.

Beth Pattinson has since joined her team, coming over from the BBC to work on development, as has Ram Murali, previously part of the Amazon Studios original movies team.

Alongside the global juggernauts such as “Good Omens,” local programming, such as the first French original, Franco-German comedy “Deutsch Les Landes,” and debut Spanish offering, football doc “Six Dreams,” is bubbling up. Brown talks Variety through her plans and rise to the top.

What’s the opportunity in terms of original content in Europe?
In Europe we have an incredible opportunity to change the creative conversation and define what we believe to be truly original and distinctive television. We are able to engage with the production community in a way the terrestrials haven’t been able to, because of their attitude to risk, restrictive remits and budgets.

How does Prime Video fit into the wider Prime offering?
We are unique because of Prime. It allows us to tap into millions of customers globally, which inevitably means we can take bigger creative risks. On the day that “The Grand Tour” debuted, total new Prime membership sign-ups exceeded all previous days with the exception of Amazon’s renowned Prime Day. Ultimately, in Europe we want to make bold television that people love, and you can’t do that without taking risks. Because of Prime, we have a dialogue with our customers and audience in a deeper way than possible at the terrestrials.

What has Amazon’s impact on the content business been thus far?
Talent on and off screen that we have worked with continue to tell us that what they love about working with Amazon is the freedom we give them to make their shows with minimal interference. The obvious challenge as a new player in the European commissioning market is working with the creative community to ensure they bring us their next bold idea. We want to talk to the best upcoming and established content creators to work together to bring unique, artist-driven content. We are interested in character-led stories in worlds our customers don’t want to leave.

Culturally, is it very different being at a ‘‘digital” company?
Being digital has obvious advantages — we don’t have rigid schedules and we can take bigger swings when needed. We can take time, allowing our creative journey to evolve on merit rather than making decisions based purely on commercial pressures. In Europe, being a new department allows us to observe those that have gone before and not make the same mistakes.

“We want to talk to the best upcoming and established content creators to work together to bring unique, artist- driven content.”
Georgia Brown

How has the way that people consume and engage with content evolved in the SVOD world?
I have never known a time when the viewers are more engaged — and it’s largely due to technology allowing them to have a conversation with the content, its characters, the writers and producers — in a way that just wasn’t physically possible before. When I first started in TV it used to be that we would follow trends from other industries that would eventually trickle down to the small screen. I strongly believe that TV is now a trendsetter, influencing all the creative industries from publishing to fashion.

You have one of the biggest jobs in European TV; did you have a mentor as you came through the ranks?
For over 10 years I have been surrounded by some of the world’s top producers and I am lucky enough to have worked for, and in amongst, some of the industry’s finest. I have huge admiration and owe a lot of thanks to [former Shine chief and now Channel 4 chief executive] Alex Mahon for her generosity with me. Working for Shine took me to another level in my career. However, [Sony Pictures Television’s president of international production] Wayne Garvie has always been a key figure in my career development and has mentored me for over 10 years.

Would you say it was more challenging to move up the ranks as a woman?
Looking up to women like Alex Mahon, Jane Featherstone and Jay Hunt, it has never crossed my mind that I won’t be able to achieve my goals because of my gender, but I am overtly aware of the challenges women can face: men being paid more, getting more senior roles with less experience, people hiring men because they are worried about women having children.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    Kevin Smith Announces Anime 'He-Man' Series for Netflix

    Kevin Smith surprised audiences at Sunday’s annual Power-Con convention by announcing a new anime “He-Man” series for Netflix. The new series, titled “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” will take place in the Mattel toy inspired world and will focus on some of the unresolved storylines of the classic ‘80s show. Smith will serve as showrunner [...]

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content