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Amazon Prime To Up its Game In The Indian Video Battle, Looking To Add More Regional Content

Amazon Prime To Up its Game In The Indian Video Battle, Looking To Add More Regional Content

With 11 Mn Subscribers, The Road is Still Long For Amazon Prime Video Against Players like Hotstar and Voot

The Indian video battle is getting intense. In order to up its game amidst players like Netflix, Hotstar, Voot in the $280 Bn video streaming market, Amazon Prime Video is reportedly looking to expand its film catalog to southern Indian languages like Tamil and Telugu.

“We want to figure out how do we do more in the South. We haven’t announced any originals yet from the South but we are looking to do as much as can be done,” Asia-Pacific content head James Farrell said.

The Prime Video is an additional offering for Amazon’s Prime subscribers, including existing ones and allows users exclusive access to movies, Amazon’s original series as well as premium content from across the globe.

Amazon Prime Video marked its entry into the Indian market in December 2016. The service has gained popularity amidst its users owing to the original Hindi web series as well as a library of films in five local languages. According to a global information company IHS Markit, Amazon Prime in its short run of one year has captured around 10% of the Indian market.

Amazon Prime Video has so far inked deals with Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, Mukesh Bhatt’s Vishesh Films, and Bhushan Kumar’s T-Series for their entire existing and upcoming films. Others include Green Gold and Japan-based TV Asahi Corporation) for kids’ content, and Tamil Nadu’s V Creations for its superhit films including Kabali and Theri.

Earlier, it was also reported that Amazon will be investing about $300 Mn for the original Prime video content in India.

An email sent to Amazon Prime Video team did not elicit any response till the time of publication.

The Rising Competition In The Indian Video Streaming Space

Online video consumption grew almost five times in the country in 2017, with 96% of all usage focused on long-form video, according to Star India’s streaming platform Hotstar’s India Watch Report.

By 2019, the video segment is expected to grow to 74% of all Internet traffic in India. Digital media product consumption in this segment is currently pegged at $1.2 Bn (INR 8,000 Cr) and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 33.5% to reach $3.9 Bn (INR 25,500 Cr) by 2020 in India.

Given the rise of 4G services in India, it is no wonder now that video on demand is a growing segment with many players like Hooq, Hotstar, Ogle, Big Flix, Eros Now, Ditto TV, Muvi, and Spuul, AltBalaji,  in the space. Also, Times Internet recently acquired a majority stake in Gangnam (Seoul) based MX Player for about $200 Mn to launch its over-the-top (OTT) video service.

However, despite the rising opportunity, Amazon has not been able to create its dominance in the market. So far Amazon Prime Video has only 11 Mn subscribers, against Hotstar’s 75 Mn and Voot’s 22 Mn subscribers. But considering that Voot and Hotstar are freemium services, against Amazon Prime and Netflix, which are premium paid services, in a price-sensitive country like India, this difference is something to be expected for.

The problems can further increase for the company as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is looking to regulate online video streaming platforms in the country.

Furthermore, the global player Netflix, having only 5 Mn subscribers in India, is also pushing in for producing localised content. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently revealed that Netflix sees a potential of adding 100 Mn customers in India. In this direction, Netflix also announced three Indian original productions — Ghoul, Leila and Crocodile, in addition to the four productions already in the process which include Sacred Games, Selection Day, Again, and Bard of Blood.

in a recent media interaction earlier today, Reed also stated, “Our core strategy is to tune everyone out, try to stay focused. If we produce great series and movies, customers will love us. If we get distracted and try to copy other people like ‘do our own prime service,’ we will never succeed with that. Their strategy is to win by being broad with a little bit of everything.”

Going ahead, will the addition of regional content be able to help Amazon Prime Video service gain a foothold in the Indian market is something to watch for.