Amazon Prime Video: Unveiling Cinematic Marvels
How did they start winning in India?
Hey Streamers 👋,
Welcome to the 14th edition of “Streaming in India”, your weekly news digest about streaming players, OTT trends and more in one of the fastest growing video markets. If you are not already a subscriber, please sign up and join several others who receive it directly in their inbox every Wednesday.
The big OTT news this past week was the Zee5 announcement of “Add Ons” in the US. By subscribing to ZEE5 Global Add-ons, customers in the US will have a convenient way to access their preferred South Asian entertainment platforms directly on the ZEE5 Global platform. With Add-ons, users will now have just one app to download, only one login and a single password to remember. Billing and payment is also simplified through a single platform for all streaming subscriptions.
Amazon Prime Video India
Prime Video Indian “Originals” (Shows) With Content Genre Distribution
Amazon Prime Video India
We all know that Amazon Prime Video is an American subscription video on-demand over-the-top streaming and rental service of Amazon offered as a standalone service or as part of Amazon's Prime subscription.
The service launched in India in December 2016, nearly a year after its larger American rival Netflix started streaming movies, television content and documentaries in the country.
^^ Nitesh Kripalani, director and country head of Amazon Prime Video India, at the launch event in 2016
“India has one of the richest and most vibrant entertainment industries in the world—Amazon is energized by the talent and the passion of India’s film industry and is excited to be making multiple Indian original shows already, with more to come," said Roy Price, vice-president and head of Amazon Studios. “It’s no secret that Amazon is making a big investment in India and is happy to take original content, created by Indian talent, to audiences worldwide. We are also making a commitment to our Indian customers to deliver high-quality, binge-worthy shows that they’ll love to watch." In hindsight, this statement by the Amazon management in 2016 has played out exactly the way they had planned it.
Fast forward to 2022 and Amazon Prime Video’s India ambitions grew leaps and bounds: “Amazon Prime Video is making its biggest push into India to date with plans to launch more than 40 films and TV series while striking new licensing deals and launching a TVOD (Transaction Video on Demand) film rental service.”
At its first Prime Video Presents India showcase event in Mumbai, the streamer said its investment in the service would more than double over the next five years.
This is led by original features, series and co-productions, in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, which are planned to launch over the next two years, ranging from thrillers, action and dramas to comedies and romances. Original programming for young adult audiences will explore supernatural and horror while Prime Video will grow its unscripted series catalogue with biographies, true-crime and investigative docudramas.
The streamer also announced new multi-year licensing deals and co-productions with some of India’s biggest studios including Ajay Devgn FFilms, Dharma Productions, Excel Entertainment and Yash Raj Films.
In addition, Amazon has launched Prime Video Store, its transactional video-on-demand (TVOD) film rental service in India, available to both Prime members and non-members, giving customers early rental access to the latest Indian and international films.
Compared with Netflix’s 6.5 million subscribers in India, Prime Video is at a relatively larger 20 million subscriber number. About 60% of Prime Video’s catalog in India, is in domestic languages.
India is one of the largest geographies for Prime Video, as per Kelly Day, Vice President of international business for the company.
In addition to the subscription Prime Video service, Amazon has also introduced Ad-supported miniTV content which be viewed on the Prime Video app, and the desktop too.
Extensive library of web series, short films and videos from popular genres like romance, comedy, drama, action, reality, K-drama and more on Amazon India’s Mini TV - completely free to watch, with no subscription required.
Prime Video “Originals”
Compared with Zee5, Disney+ Hotstar and SonyLIV, Prime Video India has the highest “Comedy” genre representation at 25% on their Originals slate, which is a pleasant surprise.
On the other hand Thriller and Suspense which are traditionally at a much higher % as part of the overall content slate distribution are only at a combined 10.2%, compared to 23.5%, 33.3% and 21.3% at Disney+ Hotstar, Zee5 and SonyLIV respectively.
^ Some of the more popular Amazon Prime Video India Originals
Amazon Prime Video is doubling down on originals, as per Aparna Purohit, Head of India Originals, Amazon Prime Video India. India now has over 70 originals in various stages of production. This is the second-largest production slate for Prime Video in the world, right after the US.
Last year, the OTT platform had shows like the returning seasons of Indian Amazon Originals such as Four More Shots Please!, Breathe: Into the Shadows and Comicstaan
"We are adapting the global hit series, Modern Love, in three local languages– Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.” said Purohit.
"We see a significant opportunity and have some deep plans for content development and production in India. Our investments are not short-term," said Purohit.
Along with content, Amazon Prime Video is also focusing on new talent. Purohit said that over 50 percent of their released slate has fresh talent. "This (fresh talent) is even higher for our slate in production at close to 70 percent," she added.
"The Family Man Season 2 became the most-watched Indian original, both within and outside the country. Also nearly 50 percent of the viewers who completed Mirzapur season 2, binge-watched it within 48 hours and it was watched in 180 countries within a week of its launch. Also, it is interesting to note that one in five viewers of Indian originals come from outside India and this has even led to international recognition for some of our most loved shows," she added.
Most recently, their show Farzi (Farzi is about Sunny, an artist disillusioned by the income inequality in India after failing to keep his grandfather's extensive printing press in business. He decides to team up with his best friend Firoz to make counterfeit money) gained unanimous reception from all corners, and it has shattered records on Prime Video. The series has depicted its supremacy at the global level as it ranked number 2 on IMDb’s global top-rated series of 2023.
Another example of a strong content IP is Aspirants (Season 2 just released on October 25th 2023), a show by TVF that romanticises the days of extreme anxiety faced by millions of students who appear for one of the most competitive exam in the world — UPSC (Union Public Service Commission). 10 lakh students applied for 1105 spots in 2023, which means roughly 905 students are competing for every seat! The show is one of India’s Top ranked Original shows at 9.2 / 10 on IMDB.
Aparna Purohit’s quotes and related source article available here
Amazon Prime Video India is well poised to be the market leader in the Indian OTT space with a:
1) Strong slate of original content IN REGIONAL LANGUAGES.
2) Deep pockets - Come on it’s Amazon; Recent Market Cap: $1.52 trillion.
3) Massive Focus on India with AWS Cloud infra, E-commerce and Prime Video showcasing India as the market with the largest focus outside the US.
4) Hiring and retaining the right people for the job.
The turning point in many ways for Amazon Prime Video India started when they hired Gaurav Gandhi, a media & entertainment veteran in 2018 as Country Head, Amazon Prime Video, India.
Gaurav had earlier built media businesses at Viacom18 (VOOT OTT), Indiacast (content syndication powerhouse), NDTV, Star India, Turner Media etc.
If you meet Gaurav you know that he has a really strong understanding of “Indian” content, video viewing behaviour, understanding of the audience both on broadcast but also on OTT and more importantly an uncanny ability to make an impact on whichever business OR employer he joined.
The Prime Video team in India was built around Gaurav’s leadership and laid the foundation for stupendous growth led by local content, commerce and community.
That’s all for today folks. If you enjoyed this breakdown, please consider sharing it with your friends and colleagues.
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