Amazon Germany Originals Chief Philip Pratt Plots Unscripted Push & Talks Standing Out “In The Face Of A Flood Of Content”

·4 min read

EXCLUSIVE: Amazon’s Head of German Originals Philip Pratt says an upcoming slew of films and TV series are the culmination of two years’ work, as Prime Video seeks to “stand out in the face of a flood of content” and plots a major local unscripted push.

Later this evening, Pratt and Amazon German Country Manager Kasper Pflueger will unveil several shows and films at a Prime Video Presents event in Munich, including Silver, which Deadline broke the news of earlier today.

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In an exclusive interview with Deadline, Pratt said he sees the slate as a culmination of a period of development and production that will position the SVoD uniquely against a field of other global streamers and revitalized local broadcasters, all of whom are spending significant sums on their own original shows. “The last two years have been about building and development and now we’re ready to go. We’re going to launch tons of stuff,” he said.

“In terms of competition, it’s a great time for Germany with so many streamers. We can see how we all push the market, along with the PSBs and the commercial broadcasters, who are commissioning many shows. Everyone is producing more and it’s great for the creative industry and the audience.

“Amazon has always been super customer-focused and the core strategy in Germany is to deliver exceptional entertainment,” he added. “In the face of this flood of content, we have to really make stuff that stands out and is unique, asking ourselves whether the project something the audience really has to see?”

Germany was one of the first two European countries Amazon launched its streaming service in, alongside the UK back in 2014 when it rebranded the Lovefilm platform, and it began rolling out original shows in 2017. Buzzy titles already announced for this next phase include German fantasy series The Gryphon from W&B Television in cooperation with DogHaud Film; high-end gangster epic Luden, from Neusuper; and psychological drama series The Therapy from Ziegler Film.

Pratt said the development period had included a strategy to platform established local stars like One Mic Stand presenter and comedian Teddy Teclebrhan and to create buzz around newer faces — pointing to how Lea Drinda, who stars in The Gryphon (Die Greif), and Jana McKinnon, who’s landed a key role in Silver, established themselves locally through popular Amazon original We Children From Bahnhoff.

“There are a few superstars in Germany who really draw audiences and get people to the box office, but we need more, so we have to build new stars, and that’s why we’re building what I like to call the talent universe,” he added. “You’re going to see that happening across all of our slate — there will be new faces that we’ll be investing in and helping to become bigger and bigger. We’re doing the same thing with behind the camera talent.”

Unscripted Push

Pratt said 2022 marks a step change in investment levels, with a major unscripted push to come following the local success of competition format LOL: Last One Laughing. “We are going to really invest more into unscripted — it’s a long-term aim,” he said. “LOL was the most successful title of all time for us — all seasons.”

Deadline understands several high-profile unscripted announcements will follow this evening — you’ll be able to read all the details here. The move comes a few months after recently departed Amazon Studios Europe boss Georgia Brown told Deadline broadcasters and streamers had not invested enough in the non-scripted space prior to her joining in 2017.

Pratt admitted the “downside” to the boom in German production, especially in unscripted, was a lack of qualified crew and craft specialists and said that collective action was needed to rectify the situation. “We all struggle,” said Pratt. “I don’t believe in single company or single country solutions, as it’s a bigger question. Many people need to be trained to fix the issue.”

Amazon has been pushing heavily into unscripted in several key International territories, including the UK and India.

Elsewhere in the interview, Pratt acknowledged the recent departure of Brown as “a surprise” but took an upbeat tone with International Originals boss James Farrell taking the lead until a replacement is hired and local chief Pflueger involved in all local commissions. “Amazon is a good place to be at the moment and we continue our strategy. I don’t see any bigger hiccups,” he said.

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