Amazon Prime Video completed its five years in India, and on this occasion the company has announced 40 new titles across series and movies for the next two years. Additionally, it has also launched its pay-per-view movie service in the country. The top executives have hinted towards aggressively entering the live sports segment, especially in cricket broadcasting for Indian audience.
Amazon Prime Video further announced its new multi-year licensing deals and co-productions with various Indian studios. During the fireside chat with film Producer and Director Karan Johar, the top Amazon Prime Video executives - James Farrell, Head of Local Originals Amazon Studios; Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios; Kelly Day, VP, Prime Video International; Gaurav Gandhi, country head, Amazon Prime Video India; and Aparna Purohit, Head of India Originals, Amazon Prime Video, discussed in-depth about India as a strong market for OTT platforms, and the expansion plans for Amazon Prime Video.
Describing India as an important market for Amazon Prime Video, Kelly Day, Vice President of Prime Video International said, “With regard to the opportunity, it goes without saying that the future of global streaming services is really about global expansion and moving much more ambitiously to serving customers in the International markets all over the world. Truly, India is leading the way for us. It is one of our fastest growing markets and it represents some of our most engaged consumers. It has just been doing really well.”
Hinting on Amazon Prime Video’s aggressive entry into live sports content, Day said, “We are uniquely positioned to be able to bring live sports, in addition to global and local content that we are producing. Cricket is obviously incredibly well loved here in India, and we are excited to be able to deliver to our customers here too. We are just at the beginning, over the next five years our plan is to double the investment that we just made. We consider India to be one of our most strategic markets, and we will continue to invest in a truly differentiated service here.”
She further described that new services are being launched in India before other parts of the world. Day said, “We are trying to create an entertainment service that meets the needs of the Indian customer first and foremost. So it is about kind of thinking backwards around what we can do to really super serve the audience. I think one of the things that is really interesting is that India is truly an innovation hub for us. So a great example of that is our prime video mobile edition service. India is the first market where we rolled out a mobile only service for our customers. It has done quite well for us, and we are really using that as a launch pad and are rolling out the mobile edition product in other countries and all around the world. So I really see the opportunity in India to continue to innovate to serve customers and to continue to learn how we can build on that, and expand prime Video all over the world.”
James Farell, Head of Local Originals, Amazon Studios while describing how Indian content has made inroads in foreign countries, said, “One in five of our customers are watching Indian content outside of India. A film like Shershah was watched by me and many others in the US. I think the licensing team has done pretty well as we are getting content from the US and other countries.” Farell cited that Indian based concept show ‘One Mic Stand’ was being remade in Germany and said, “Not only are shows travelling, but the ideas are travelling around the world.”
Amazon Prime Video’s arch rival, Netflix, saw a major drop in subscribers globally. Recently, Netlfix announced its AVOD services to increase its growth in revenue and user base. As per a recent Kantar report, Video streaming market in the US has stalled. The report further states that Amazon Prime Video is the top destination for new SVOD subscribers for the fourth consecutive quarter in the US but its share is down 3% points quarter-on-quarter.
The report states, Netflix’s subscribers continued to shrink for the fifth consecutive quarter, seeing a decline in household penetration of 0.2% points quarter-on-quarter. This is a decline of four percentage points year-on-year.
In January 2022, Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder had said “The thing that frustrates us is why haven’t we been as successful in India. But we’re definitely leaning in there”. But Amazon seems to have the winning formula for success in the country, Gaurav Gandhi, country head, Amazon Prime Video India said, “One of the most significant markers is that we have been able to expand the linguistic palette of our customers in India today. Almost half of our customers on Prime Video stream content in four or more languages, which is incredible. Almost 50 percent of our recent releases has new talent and it has increased to 70 percent in our upcoming content slate.”
He further said, “Today customers across 99% of India’s pin codes are streaming Prime Video and customers across +240 companies and territories are immersing themselves in our stories. We are fuelling the creative economy of India. Over the next five years we have to invest double of what we have done in the last five years. With our new movie rental service on Prime Video store, customers in India will be able to rent and watch movies across languages soon after they have been released. This service will be available to prime members and everyone else.”
Describing how Amazon Prime Video stands out when compared to other platforms, Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios said, “I think four years ago when I started to work with the team, we really put lot of effort for being the home for talent, and that was a really important and central philosophy for us and we take it very seriously. All these incredible shows have been possible because of the incredible talent and artists.
With the announcement of 40 new titles across multiple languages, Aparna Purohit, Head of India Originals, talked about the process of commissioning the content for the platform, she said, “I truly believe India is a land of storytellers — in every nook and cranny, and this is such an incredible time and it is almost like revitalization and renaissance of Indian entertainment and the challenge is to find that one story which will connect with people not only in India but across the world. We want to back the vision of our creators, enable them and empower them.”