Amazon European Originals Head Stresses Focus on Hyper-Local Shows

Courtesy of INTV
Georgia Brown

During a talk at France's Series Mania, Georgia Brown, who stepped into her current position a year and a half ago, said she has spent much of that time setting up Amazon's infrastructure in Europe. The London-based unscripted team is slated to be fully operational by the end of May, and the scripted team “is nearly there.”

Amazon Studios' Georgia Brown, head of European Prime Original Series, said Wednesday she is focusing on hyper-local shows as she ramps up production across four territories on the continent. 

During a talk focused on Amazon's European strategy at France's Series Mania, Brown, who stepped into her current position a year and a half ago, said she has spent much of that time setting up Amazon's infrastructure in Europe. The London-based unscripted team is slated to be fully operational by the end of May, and the scripted team “is nearly there.”

She also has been setting up local offices in France, Germany, Italy and Spain in an effort to invigorate local production in those territories. Series will reflect the distinct cultures across Europe, she said, noting that a show “doesn't have to travel around the world, it just has to be a hit for that territory.”

Brown also said that while she is aware big serialized shows work well on streaming, Amazon is not focused on any particular genre. “There's nothing we are not looking at right now,” she said.

Amazon's deep pockets also mean she doesn't have to focus on budgets. “We don't really talk numbers,” Brown said of the development process, where she instead can focus on shaping a show idea. The streamer will not compete on volume and won't greenlight straight-to-series, she said, but will rather be deeply involved in the development process with local creators.

For all the buzz about pan-European co-productions at Series Mania, Brown said those types of productions would not work on the platform. “I really want to protect how different these places are,” she said. “I really want to start making local productions and start promoting local storytelling.”

Brown maintained that certain series do drive Prime subscriptions, citing the car show The Grand Tour, but that producers aren't working to help drive product sales. They are also not competing for big-name writers or big stars — The Grand Tour, perhaps, aside — she added.

As for her take on Apple's big TV+ announcement on Monday, Brown said that the company's reach allows it to operate collaboratively and cited the fact that Netflix's app is available through Amazon: “We're obsessed with our audience and bringing them the best shows, whether that comes from us, Apple, the BBC or Netflix, we like collaborating to bring out customers the best content.”

She also touched on Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos' disruption comments earlier in the day.

“Listening to [Sarandos] talk this morning about disruption, I think it's a good thing. I don't think disruption is bad," Brown said, citing the #MeToo movement and the resulting change taking place in Hollywood. "If you look at the disruption that has caused, it has been hugely positive and was so well-needed. I think some of these disruptions will help us evolve and progress."