Interview: Hushidar Kharas, head of Prime Video Australia and New Zealand, on searching for “the Prime Video Buff”

Australians are obsessed with content, with new research from Prime Video Australia revealing the average Australian has watched 67 movies and TV series this year alone. With tens of thousands of titles to choose from on Prime Video, choosing what to watch can be hard. And let’s be honest, sometimes you just want to leave the decision-making to someone else. And you’re not alone. The research also found that while some Australians (46%) enjoy a sophisticated AI to recommend them content, the human touch never goes astray, with more than 3 in 5 of those surveyed (64%) relying on word-of-mouth or expert recommendations to pick movies and TV shows. This is where the Prime Video Buff comes in.

With applications open until November 28th (you can apply here), the Prime Video Buff will be paid up to $40K for a three-month job, receiving a whole host of additional job perks, from red carpet access and working from home (i.e. the lounge), to streaming the biggest Australian and international shows before they hit the platform.

To learn more about this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Peter Gray spoke with Hushidar Kharas, the head of Prime Video Australia and New Zealand, discussing what was the catalyst for such a position, how he personally became involved with Prime Video, and how they managed to lure Osher Günsberg to help find the right candidate.

This is such an amazing opportunity. How long has this been something Prime Video has been working on, and was there any catalyst in creating such an opportunity?

We recently conducted some consumer research which found that 64% of Australians rely on word-of-mouth or expert recommendations to pick movies and TV shows. This got us thinking, what if we make it really easy for them, and have some fun while we’re doing it – and that’s how the Prime Video Buff role came to be. For the last few months now the team has been working on creating the Prime Video Buff to help customers discover something new to watch – and especially for those from our research who just want to leave the decision-making to someone else! The role will help Australians discover new content and be the expert recommendation Australians have been longing for.

In the research regarding the statistics of how many people rely on word of mouth, would choose to be paid for such an opportunity, and would quit their job for the position, were you finding there was a certain state or age group that was more prominent than others?

Prime Video’s research found that 83% of Australians enjoy the content recommended to them by real people and 64% rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. We all know that person who is up to date with the latest series, loves a cult classic or can pick a plot twist from the start – this is the person we are looking for to fill the Prime Video Buff role.

And, the majority of Australians would choose to watch movies and TV shows full time if they had the option (78%). We also found that 3 in 5 (59%) would quit their job tomorrow for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

When it comes to each state and territory, there are a few similarities, but West Australians take the lead as the most likely state to quit their job tomorrow for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (64%) and South Australians take the lead for the state streaming the most TV shows and movies (75) this year. Perhaps our Prime Video Buff will reign from WA or SA?

How did Osher Günsberg become involved?

The team enlisted Osher because of his second-to-none experience in the entertainment industry. With a career spanning more than two decades, Osher lives and breathes entertainment and is no stranger to uncovering new talent in the industry. He will help Prime Video recruit a charismatic, confident and encyclopedic TV and film buff to fill this role. Whether you know him from Australian Idol or The Bachelor, Osher has been a staple of Australian TV for years now. Who better to help us find our Prime Video Buff?

How did you personally come to be involved in the industry and, by extension, Prime Video?

I’ve been a movie buff for years – in my Uni days I watched my way through not only the IMDb top 250, but also a good chunk of the bottom 100! Professionally, I’ve sought out roles where I can impact a large base of passionate customers, and that journey led me first to TV – with roles in sports marketing and network strategy – and then to Prime Video, where I’m currently dedicated to building a service that delivers great entertainment to our customers in Australia and New Zealand, which I hope they will one day come to love.

Do you see this as an opportunity as something you would potentially explore again to continue uncovering the right buffs for the job?

Yes. At Amazon we double down on success and see this as an idea we could replicate elsewhere in the world as well! We’re seeking someone truly film and TV-obsessed and see this as a great opportunity to uncover new talent in the entertainment industry.

Applications are now open for the position through to the 28th November, 2022.

Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.