Amazon Prime Video Upfront: SVOD platform competes to give Aussies what they want via local content push

“Prime Video Showcase: An Evening with our Producers, Prime Video Australia” today revealed its Aussie content slate for 2023, underlining the global streaming service’s commitment to the production of local content for customers in Australia and worldwide.

The announcements included six new Australian Amazon Originals and first looks at three scripted Original series: Class of ’07, Deadloch, and The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. Prime Video will launch a record nine new Australian Amazon Originals in 2023.

The event gathered producers and well-known names in the country to celebrate the wealth of local content coming to Prime Video Australia — and more than 240 countries and territories globally — in 2023. Asher Keddie and Leah Purcell (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart), Megan Smart (Class of ’07), Kate Box (Deadloch), Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland and Travis Head (The Test Season Two), and The Wiggles co-founders Murray Cook and Jeff Fatt (Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles) all attended the event and discussed their upcoming projects.

Adding to Prime Video’s growing slate of 23 Australian Amazon Originals commissions since 2019, the six new unscripted titles announced during the evening were Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles, produced by Augusto, Frog Productions, SAM Content; Dance Life, produced by EQMedia, Biscuit Tin Productions, and Creative Bubble; The Defenders, produced by Sweetshop & Green; Hugh van Cuylenburg G.E.M, a live special produced by Princess Pictures; and five Australian stand-up specials, by comedians Joel Creasey, Rhys Nicholson, Dave Hughes, Tommy Little, and Lizzy Hoo, from a variety of production teams. Following the success of Season One, a second season of The Test was also announced, in collaboration with Cricket Australia.

Prime Video Showcase gave guests a sneak peek into what customers can expect next year, as well as the chance to hear from the producers for each Australian Amazon Original project. The evening was hosted by comedian Joel Creasey; Hushidar Kharas, head of Prime Video Australia and New Zealand; Tyler Bern, head of content for Prime Video Australia, New Zealand, and Canada; Magda Grace, director, Prime Video Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; and Sarah Christie, senior scripted development executive at Amazon Studios, Australia.

“Prime Video is proud to announce that 2023 will be its biggest year for launching Australian content to local and international customers, with a record nine new Australian Amazon Originals launching next year,” said Hushidar Kharas, head of Prime Video Australia and New Zealand. “We continue to be incredibly focused on investing in and developing the world’s best talent, to deliver the highest quality content for our Prime Video customers in Australia and around the world.”

Prime Video Australia, New Zealand, and Canada head of content, Tyler Bern, said: “Prime Video has announced 23 Australian Amazon Original commissions since 2019. We have been actively developing, commissioning, and acquiring local projects, and we are thrilled that our Australian customers are connecting with our local content.

“From world-famous musicians with legions of fans, like The Wiggles, to the gripping story of refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, and the Australian cricket team back for The Test Season Two, 2023 will showcase a diverse breadth of stories we have to tell here in Australia.”

At the event, Prime Video made a series of announcements, including six new Australian Amazon Originals.

The Test Season Two: Produced by Amazon Studios, Cricket Australia, and Whooshka Media, Season Two of Prime Video Australia’s biggest sports documentary release to date will show an intimate side of the Australian men’s cricket team, as they strive to be the best in the world. Weeks away from the first Ashes Test match, Pat Cummins takes on the captaincy in the wake of Tim Paine’s decision to resign. Faced with Paine’s departure, along with Justin Langer’s looming resignation from the role of senior coach, Cummins and the team now hold the responsibility of writing their own legacy. The Test Season Two is an insight into modern leadership and empowerment at the highest level of sport. And along the way, the players invite us into their lives away from the field. The four-part series is co-directed by Adrian Brown and Sheldon Wynne from Wooshka Media.

Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles: Calling themselves The Wiggles after the way young children move, four young men; Anthony, Murray, Greg and Jeff, and a dinosaur called Dorothy, seemed an unlikely basis for a global sensation. Both a celebration and exploration of more than thirty years of The Wiggles phenomenon and their re-emergence into the cultural zeitgeist in 2022. The story of The Wiggles has never before been shared in a feature-length documentary and the extraordinary behind-the-scenes personal footage has never previously been seen. The Director is Sally Aitken, with Fraser Grut co-directing.

In addition, Dance Life: Produced by EQMedia, Biscuit Tin, and Creative Bubble, the five-part documentary series gives a peek behind the curtain of the Australian dance institution Brent Street, the Southern Hemisphere’s leading dance academy. The goal of a student at Brent Street is clear: Wow them at “Agent Week” and get a lead role for the final dance graduation at the end of the year, and your path is set. But only a small minority will achieve dance stardom. The series is created and produced by Jade Barnes and Luke Cornish and is now shooting in Sydney.

The Defenders: A feature-length documentary produced Sweetshop & Green, The Defenders tells the gripping true story of how Hakeem al-Araibi, a Bahraini footballer turned political refugee, was arrested while on his honeymoon in Thailand under an invalid Interpol warrant. Outraged at a fellow Australian player being imprisoned, former Socceroo captain Craig Foster becomes the unlikely leader of a team of human rights activists, social media warriors, and ordinary Australians who launch a campaign to #SaveHakeem. This is the true story of how a group of ordinary people battled against the odds to rescue a player’s life and try to save the very soul of the game itself.

Hugh van Cuylenburg G.E.M: Hugh is the best-selling author of The Resilience Project and Let Go. He is also the co-host of the very popular The Imperfects podcast. Through engaging storytelling and unpacking the research into simple tips, Hugh’s talk will give Prime Video customers a chance to learn positive mental health strategies which help them become happier and more resilient. The 90-minute special is produced by Princess Pictures.

Five Australian stand-up specials: Featuring some of Australia’s most well-known and hilarious comedians, these specials will be making Prime Video your go-to for comedy in 2023. The specials are Dave Hughes: Ridiculous; Tommy Little: Pretty Fly for a Dickhead; Lizzy Hoo: Hoo Cares, from Guesswork Television; Joel Creasey: Queen of the Outback; and Rhys Nicholson’s Big Queer Comedy Concert, from Big Yellow Taxi.

At the event, the audience was also given a first look at a number of Australian Amazon Original titles including Class of ‘07, Deadloch, and The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart — all to be released in 2023.

Amazon Studios Australia senior scripted development executive, Sarah Christie said: “Prime Video is thrilled to be bringing the very best Australian talent to local and global customers with the launch of our scripted Original series in 2023.

“We believe that these distinctly Australian stories, Class of ’07, Deadloch, and The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, will not only excite our Australian viewers but will resonate with our customers worldwide.”


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