Erika North Joins Amazon Studios in Asia (EXCLUSIVE)

Seasoned Asian TV production executive, Erika North has joined Amazon as head of Asia-Pacific Originals at Amazon Studios.

North’s LinkedIn profile was updated to show her new status since February. North did not respond to  enquiries, but an Amazon source with knowledge of the situation told Variety that she took up the role from Tuesday.

The move points to Amazon expanding its streaming presence in Asia, a massive region, but one not yet fully served by Amazon’s local content production capacity.

James Farrell, who was promoted to head of international originals in 2018, was previously based in Japan, and green-lighted series in both Japan and India. But he relocated to North America after his promotion, to lead the international original teams in Japan, India, Europe, Mexico and Brazil. North will report to Farrell.

North previously held similar positions at HBO Asia and subsequently at Netflix, with both roles based in Singapore. Her LinkedIn posting suggests she will remain in Singapore.

Within Asia, Amazon operates its Prime retail membership service, with which the streaming platform enjoys a symbiotic relationship, in Japan, India, Australia, and Singapore. That relationship is often referred to by Amazon executives as a “fly wheel” effect, with each force helping to drive the other.

Additionally, Amazon Prime Video was launched in Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam in December 2016.

North was at HBO Asia between 2009 and 2017 and has executive producer credits on HBO’s “Serangoon Road,” “Halfworlds” and “The Teenage Psychic” as well as a writer-producer credit on horror series “Grace.”

North joined Netflix at its Asia hub in early 2017, and departed in mid Nov. 2019. Netflix green-lighted a range of content in Asia on North’s watch, including three Chinese-language series: crime thriller, “Nowhere Man”; Neal Wu-directed action comedy, “Triad Princess,” which got its first airing from December last year and “The Ghost Bride,” a period thriller set in 1890s Malacca.

Asia represents huge opportunity for Amazon, but also significant challenges. Southeast Asia alone has a huge population of over 600 million, many of whom are young and tech savvy. But the region is fragmented by culture and language. Its vastly different levels of economic development is a factor that keeps monthly subscriptions out of the reach of many.

Despite those challenges, Southeast Asia is a highly competitive streaming scene. It has witnessed the development of multi-territory regional streaming services including iflix, Hooq and Viu; the arrival of global players (Netflix and Amazon); and the first stages of international expansion outside Greater China by Chinese streaming giants Tencent Video and iQIYI.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Black AF Netflix

    Everything Coming to Netflix in April

    As everyone continues to self-quarantine and practice social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, there’s no better “at-home” activity than catching up on all the new films and shows streaming on Netflix this April. A number of new series are set to premiere on the streaming platform, including “Never Have I Ever,” “#BlackAf,” “OuterBanks,” “The [...]

  • Illustration of the video streaming company

    Video Streaming to TVs Soared 85% in U.S. in First Three Weeks of March, Nielsen Says

    During the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are staying home — and, as you would expect, they’re streaming more than ever. U.S. consumers’ viewing of streaming has continued to increase through March. Over the first three weeks of March 2020, the total estimated number of minutes streamed to the TV was 400 billion, up 85% compared with [...]

  • HOOQ Demise Damages The Business Case

    Hooq May Have Fallen But a Business Case for Southeast Asian Streamers Endures

    With coronavirus lockdowns across the region causing a spike in stay-at-home viewing, Friday’s news that Southeast Asian video streamer Hooq is to close within a matter of days came as a shock to its friends and competitors alike. Compared with its regional rivals, Hooq had the most blue-chip backers in Singaporean telecoms giant Singtel, WarnerMedia [...]

  • U.K. Freelancers

    U.K. Government Faces Pressure From Industry on Economic Measures for Freelancers

    The U.K. government is facing increasing pressure from the creative industries after it emerged that economic measures set out for the self-employed last week by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak have yawning gaps in them. The measures may have come as a welcome move for many creative industries workers, but not all are eligible [...]

  • Howard Stern'America's Got Talent' Post-Show, New

    Howard Stern Announces SiriusXM Premier Will Be Free Through May 15

    Howard Stern announced Tuesday that SiriusXM Premier will be free through May 15 as a courtesy to those staying home in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. For the next month and a half, listeners will have access to more than 300 ad-free channels, including the Howard Stern Show. Sirius XM is also [...]

  • Lenny Abrahamson Series 'Normal People' Sets

    Oscar Nominee Lenny Abrahamson's 'Normal People' Sets BBC, Hulu Dates

    “Normal People,” a BBC and Hulu 12-part drama, will bow as a boxset on BBC Three in the U.K. on April 26, and will be released in the U.S. on April 29, it was revealed Tuesday. It will also air on BBC One, and RTE in Ireland, dates for which are yet to be confirmed. [...]

  • NewFronts 2020

    NewFronts 2020 Digital Marketing Series Postponed to June

    The 2020 Digital Content NewFronts are moving about two months later as live-streamed virtual presentations, with organizers citing the need for more time for participants to prep. Previously, the annual NewFronts had been scheduled for April 27-May 6 at various venues in New York City — but with the COVID-19 pandemic it became clear earlier [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content