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Amazon Prime Video launches local services, content slates in Southeast Asia

Amazon launched localized versions of its Prime Video service on Monday in key Southeast Asian markets — Indonesia, Thailand and The Philippines. The tech giant boosted its subscriber push in the three markets by simultaneously unveiling slates of localized originals for each territory, as well as discounted introductory Amazon Prime membership offerings.

Amazon Prime Video launched in Southeast Asia in 2016, but the versions of the service available in the region have never featured the local-language interfaces, subtitling and original content offerings that are common in more developed markets.That changes Monday in Southeast Asia’s three biggest markets, where Amazon Prime is relaunching with seven-day free trials, followed by special discounts that will last until the end of the year — 59,000 Indonesian rupiah ($3.98), 149 Thai baht ($4.10) and 149 Philippine pesos ($2.69).

Amazon said its first Southeast Asian shows will be localized versions of its situational comedy improv format, Comedy Island, one for each country. The shows, which follow local celebrities and comedians after they are stranded on a tropical island and forced to take part in unique challenges, are expected to be ready for launch in 2023.

Amazon other forthcoming Southeast Asian originals include two Indonesian films: Siege At Thorn High, directed by Anwar (Satan’s Slaves) and produced by Come & See Pictures, and 4 Seasons In Java, produced by Four Colour Films and written by Andini (Before, Now & Then). Thai projects underway include Three Idiots And A Ghost, a film based on the novel by Sal Kim and published by Wattpad with Jungka Bangkok producing; scripted series Metal Casket from writer/director Banjong Pisanthanakun (Pee Mak), as well as How To Fake It In Bangkok, from Halo Productions with Ananda Everingham executive producing.

The originals will be supplemented with licensed local content, Korean series and some Japanese anime.

Indonesian titles coming to the service include Perfect Strangers, a local version of the Italian hit, which launches October 17; Ashiap Man, directed by Atta Halilintar (Nov. 14) and horror movie Kuntilanak 3, directed by Rizal Mantovani and starring Julie Estelle (Oct. 10).

Content from Thailand includes pandemic thriller The 100 (Dec. 12), coming-of-age thriller The Up Rank, starring Krit Jeerapattananuwong (Nov. 14), and action drama My True Friends: The Beginning, starring Ryu Vachirawich and Nak Charlie Trairat, which starts streaming Monday (Aug. 1).

The Philippine offerings are comedy drama Big Night, starring Christian Bables and directed by Jun Lana, which also launches Monday; romance How To Love Mr. Heartless, starring Sue Ramirez (Aug. 15), and surreal drama Whether The Weather Is Fine, starring Daniel Padilla (Oct. 10).

Imported content filling out the localize launch slates include the Korean romantic film Nothing Serious and the blockbuster Japanese anime Demon Slayer, which go live Monday. Ron Howard’s Thai cave rescue film, Thirteen Lives, also debuts on the service from Aug. 5.

“We’re delighted to be increasing our investment in Prime Video for customers in Southeast Asia, making it a truly localized experience – from local content specifically sourced for our customers, to a localized user experience, and the first full-scale local marketing campaign,” said Josh McIvor, director of International Expansion, Prime Video.

Erika North, head of Asia-Pacific Originals, Prime Video, said: “Southeast Asia is a tapestry of cultures, languages, and histories, and there has truly never been a better time to be a content creator or a content consumer in this part of the world. We are thrilled to be bringing our first three local Amazon Originals, the hilarious world of Comedy Island to customers in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and worldwide.” The Hollywood Reporter

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