EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Prime Video Southeast Asia is cutting its originals team in Singapore and moving to a “leaner operating model,” as part of the globe wave of redundancies announced earlier this week.
Deadline has seen an internal note from Prime Video’s Vice President, Asia Pacific, Gaurav Gandhi (see below), which confirms the streamer is “decreasing investments in South East Asia (SEA) and moving to a leaner local operating model to support the SEA territories.”
In effect, this means an exit the local originals game and a major reduction in headcount at the Singapore office, with almost all staff from this side of the business to exit. We understand those programs and films from the region set to launch for this year and 2025 or in production are unaffected. They will continue to filter through, but no new originals are coming.
Instead, Prime Video Southeast Asia will move a model of licensing local and pan-regional content — particularly from South Korea, the Japanese anime market and India — alongside its U.S. offering. We understand around 25 employees will remain in Singapore working on Prime Video across the Southeast Asia region.
Gandhi’s note to star confirmed David Simonsen, Director Prime Video in Southeast Asia will continue to lead the scaled-back Singapore team, “working even more closely with our centralized business teams.”
When he joined Prime Video in September 2022, Simonsen was handed responsibility for business and marketing activities in the region, with a focus on Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Gandhi added there would be “no change in our investment focus in our other APAC territories including Japan and India.”
Earlier this week, Amazon MGM Studios and Prime Video SVP Mike Hopkins told staff that “several hundred roles” would be eliminated across the organization. There have since been cuts in theatrical, unscripted and gaming unit Twitch, and international cuts have been widely expected.
Amazon’s strategy shift in Southeast Asia is something of a volte face from the one Gandhi, who relocated from Mumbai to Singapore when he was promoted to VP in February last year, unveiled at the APOS conference last year. At the time, he said Prime Video Southeast would look to expand its local-language content slate.
The Singapore office was at an earlier stage of development than other APAC territories such as India and Japan, with Amazon’s shopping and fast delivery services infrastructure not in place in several territories, but Gandhi had said: “We’re now getting started with David’s team here in building out Southeast Asia.”
Indian originals boss Aparna Purohit had in turn expanded her focus, with a specific target to create content out of Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. Despite the strategy change, she stays in post as India is a major focus for Amazon, we understand. Thai originals chief Darin Darakananda is also unaffected by the redundancies.
Read Gandhi’s note in full here
We continue to inspect our business to ensure that we are prioritizing our investments on what we know matters most to our customers and for the long-term success of our business. Today we have made the decision to discontinue some programs and initiatives, and rebalance our international organization to focus on the countries and regions driving the most growth for our service. In APAC, we are decreasing investments in South East Asia (SEA) and moving to a leaner local operating model to support the SEA territories. David Simonsen will continue to lead this leaner Singapore based SEA team, working even more closely with our centralized business teams, as we continue to attract new customers in the region. There is no change in our investment focus in our other APAC territories including Japan and India.
As a result of these changes, we have eliminated some roles within the SEA team. I’m writing to let you know that all impacted employees in the SEA team have been notified. We recognize this news is difficult. We encourage you to reach out to My HR with questions and remember that our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available 24/7 for free and confidential help.
As Mike mentioned, we remain very optimistic about the long-term future of Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios where we are taking significant steps and investments towards our long-term vision of making Prime Video the first-choice entertainment destination for customers worldwide. I want to thank you all for the hard work you do every day. Please do reach out to me or the HR support I mentioned above if you have any questions.