- Ukonwa Ojo, who’s served as chief marketing officer of Amazon’s Studios and Prime Video units for the past two years, is leaving the company, according to media reports. The executive confirmed the news in a LinkedIn post.
- Ojo, who previously worked in the cosmetics field, said she helped launch eight of the top 10 original shows in Prime Video’s 11-year-history. She also spearheaded marketing for movies like “Coming 2 America” — Amazon Studio’s most-watched feature film to date, per Deadline — and “Being the Ricardos.”
- Ojo’s exit adds to a string of departures at Amazon, an exodus that comes as its core operations come under new pressure. The news also points to continued volatility in the streaming space, which is coming down from earlier pandemic highs.
The executive in charge of promoting Amazon’s original streaming bets is leaving at a transitional moment for the business. Amazon Prime Video will become the exclusive home of the NFL’s coveted “Thursday Night Football” program this season, its most substantial move into live sports yet. A TV show set in the “Lord of the Rings” universe that reportedly cost $58 million per episode is set to debut in the fall. And the company in March closed its $8.5 Billion acquisition of MGM after clearing antitrust scrutiny, priming its movie catalog for a serious expansion.
Now, Amazon appears to be adjusting course. In an internal memo addressing Ojo’s departure, Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said that the group would take this time to “evaluate our organizational needs,” Deadline reported.
Ojo spearheaded promotions for some of Amazon’s most ambitious content plays, including the big-budgeted fantasy title “The Wheel of Time,” based on a popular series of books, and superhero satire “The Boys,” which was just renewed for a fourth season. But the broader streaming market is hitting speed bumps following a period of soaring growth.
While people rushed to sign up for services during the lockdown periods of the pandemic, subscribers have been harder to come by amid a proliferation of platforms and loosened COVID-19 restrictions. Netflix, the streaming leader, has borne the brunt of the impact, enacting steep rounds of layoffs this year and hashing out plans for an ad-supported tier, an idea it long resisted. Amazon owns the ad-supported service Freevee (previously IMDb TV), an increasingly central part of its pitch to advertisers and a growing destination for originals.
Fresh streaming pressures have come with some executive churn. Bozoma Saint John, Netflix’s CMO, announced her exit in March. Like Ojo, she spent two years at the company. These are uncommonly brief stints for a C-suite position that is already notorious for short tenures.
Amazon has felt the pinch of a cooling economy in a broader sense. E-commerce growth, another area that previously saw a pandemic-driven frenzy, has tapered off while brick-and-mortar bounces back. Alicia Boler-Davis, Amazon’s senior vice president of global customer fulfillment, and David Bozeman, vice president of Transportation Services, split with the company earlier this month. They were two of the most senior Black leaders at Amazon.