Amazon Prime Video is rapidly becoming a major force in Latin America with its mix of local content, ambitious productions and compelling stories.
Taking part in a Ventana Sur online conference, Pablo Iacoviello, Amazon Prime Video’s director of content for Latin America, and Javiera Balmaceda, Amazon Studios’ head of originals for Argentina, Chile and Colombia, discussed the streaming giant’s slate of productions, which have exploded in the past two years.
Amazon launched its original series in Latin America in 2018 with Mexican titles “Diablo Guardián” and the political thriller “An Unknown Enemy,” both produced by Televisa, and it continues to expand its production activities in the region’s major markets.
Amazon has achieved particular success with comedy and entertainment formats like “LOL: Last One Laughing,” which is being adapted in major international markets like Germany and Australia, and “De viaje con los Derbez,” a comedy docuseries featuring Mexican comedian Eugenio Derbez and his family on a trip to Morocco.
It has also continued with local versions of successful formats, such as the sports docuseries “All or Nothing: Brazil National Team,” Balmaceda noted.
Chile’s first Amazon original, the Armando Bo-helmed series “El Presidente,” which chronicles the story of a small-town Chilean soccer club president and his role in the $150 million FIFA Gate corruption scandal, “was the success we had hoped for,” she added.
The show, because of its high-interest subject matter, attracted viewers not just in Chile, but throughout Latin America, she added. “We had an organic opportunity to include actors from all over South America and tell a very South American story.”
Amazon Prime Video’s latest series include the comedy series “How to Survive Being Single,” which follows the fictitious life of real-life Mexican actor Sebastián Zurita, who also created the show with brother Emiliano Zurita.
Another new show, “La Jauría” is an eight-part Chilean series inspired by true events that revolves around the disappearance of a young female student activist and the ensuing police investigation, which exposes an online game that recruits young men to commit acts of aggression toward women. Like “El Presidente,” “‘La Jauía’ is a Chilean series that had repercussions throughout Latin America,” Iacoviello noted.
Likewise premiering this year was Diego Luna’s dinner table discussion series “Pan y Circo,” which “covers important issues for Mexico and I believe for all of Latin America,” Balmaceda said.
Iacoviello pointed out Amazon’s strong track record when it came to partnering with leading players in the Spanish-speaking world on such projects as “Instinto,” produced by Madrid-based Bambu Producciones and distributed by Studiocanal; historical series “Hernán,” on which the streamer collaborated with History Channel and Televisión Azteca; and “Backdoor,” the comedy show from Viacom and Brazil’s Porta dos Fundos.
“We continue to look for opportunities and collaboration with other players,” he added.
Commenting on the impact of the ongoing pandemic, Balmaceda said, “We are trying to readjust and reviewing our strategy. We were fortunate that we had a catalog of content that was ready and now we are starting to produce again under COVID, which has changed all of our lives.”