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From Loss Leader to Subscription Driver: Prime Video’s Transformation in Spain – Insights from Executives Ricardo Carbonero and Maria José Rodríguez

During a recent Prime Video Presents event in Madrid, the Amazon-owned streaming platform made a significant announcement. They revealed plans to release two of their upcoming original features in cinemas in the near future, signaling a shift towards more theatrical distribution. Following the event, Director of Prime Video in Spain and Portugal, Ricardo Carbonero, and Amazon Studios’ Head of Spanish Originals, Maria José Rodríguez, sat down with Variety to discuss the company’s approach to film and series distribution, transforming Prime Video from a loss leader to a subscription driver, and the current trends resonating with Spanish audiences.

When asked about the decision to release their upcoming films “Hildegart” and “Sigue mi voz” in cinemas despite the prevailing pessimism surrounding theatrical distribution, Rodriguez highlighted the evolving landscape of theatrical distribution. She emphasized the importance of considering what is best for each film and the talent involved before making distribution decisions. The theatrical releases not only aid in marketing campaigns but also demonstrate Prime Video’s commitment to the films.

Contrary to the belief that global streamers are scaling back on original content, Prime Video in Spain has maintained a consistent lineup of productions. Rodriguez explained that their strategy focuses on quality over quantity, ensuring that each project finds its place on the platform. They have actually expanded their work on feature films, emphasizing the importance of producing standout content that enhances the brand and attracts subscribers.

Carbonero emphasized the need for unique productions that differentiate Prime Video and contribute to the overall brand impact. He highlighted the platform’s evolution from being a video streaming service bundled with Prime subscriptions to becoming a key driver of Prime subscriptions. The synergy between different elements of Prime, including video content, free shipping, and music, has enhanced the overall subscriber experience.

The executives discussed Prime Video’s adaptable approach to making films and shows accessible to audiences. Rodriguez emphasized the importance of being open to new possibilities and making distribution decisions based on individual project needs. Carbonero added that Amazon’s culture values innovation and finding the best solutions for each challenge, rather than adhering to generic rules.

In terms of narrative trends that resonate with Spanish audiences, Rodriguez mentioned that comedy and thrillers are popular genres. Thrillers, in particular, have international appeal, making them valuable assets for the platform. Science fiction and genre content are also on the rise, with a notable presence of apocalyptic themes in the lineup. The focus remains on supporting creators and delivering content that engages viewers both in Spain and globally.