It’s Back to The Future for Amazon Prime

Mike Boyd - December 6, 2019

It was a very smoky and hazy afternoon in early December when we attended the Amazon Prime Video Australia end of year party.

Held on the edge of Sydney Harbor this was a glimpse into what Amazon has achieved in the past two years since launching Amazon.com.au and more recently Amazon Prime and Amazon Prime Video.

At the entrance to the event sat the Amazon Tiny Holiday House – that has spent much of the week in the center of Sydney with no views – and now had arguably the most unique view of any home in Sydney. This is a promotional prize to be given away by Amazon later in the month. The Tiny Holiday House is on wheels and can be towed much  like a caravan – although from what we could see the House only slept one person.

Into the main marquee, and it was all about Amazon Prime. A huge area very sparsely decorated filled with advertising and media agency types, and partners of Amazon in Australia.

Arno Lenior – Amazon’s Director for Prime and Marketing in Australia took the stage to welcome everyone and run through some highlights of Amazon’s first 24 months of local operations. Some of the highlights included

  • The scale of the Australian market very evident (not sure if this was complimentary or not…)
  • Amazon Prime is very competitive at $7 per month
  • Two day free shipping to 90% of Australia
  • Amazon has donated nearly $200K to Starlight Foundation
  • Chosen 10 children from the Starlight Foundation to be product testers or “Play Makers” as Amazon calls them

Tyler Byrne – Head of Prime video in Australia took the stage to reinforce the commitment to developing original content by Australians for the Australian market which included the local adaptation of the hit show – Last One Laughing (LOL) staring Rebel Wilson.

Amazon has also further committed to appealing to comedic audiences with a 10 part Stand Up Comedy series staring Tom Gleeson, Celia Pacquola, and Judith Lucy.

Other highlights include the upcoming very behind the scenes of the Australian Cricket Team and their successful Ashes tour in 2019. Produced in partnership with Cricket Australia, this promises to be a very compelling shift of what Amazon is in the mindset of Australia’s cricketing tragics.

The highlight of the evening was the announcement of the return of the very popular series Packed to The Rafters – rebadged as Back to The Rafters with almost all the original cast returning including Michael Caton, Eric Thomson, and George Houvardas reviving his next-door neighbour ‘Karbo’. The show will be produced by Seven Studios and distributed far and wide on the Amazon Prime Video network.

Strangely there was not a single mention of The Grand Tour – arguably the most costly of the Amazon Prime Video Originals ever made. Judging by the production qualities of the upcoming special from Vietnam, no expense is being spared in the new format.

It will be very interesting to see what the third year of Amazon’s life in Australia brings with the various challenges of household spending, distribution to a country as large as it is sparsely populated, and far more competition in the streaming content space than ever before.


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