Prime time: Bollywood streaming paying off

The OTT firm is gearing up to launch a diverse slate of India originals in the coming years

Amazon Prime Video has acquired 19 (direct-to-digital) films across five languages.
Amazon Prime Video has acquired 19 (direct-to-digital) films across five languages.

OTT (over the top) platforms believe the strategy to buy and stream Bollywood films is paying off. Gaurav Gandhi, director and country general manager at Amazon Prime Video India, said Gulabo Sitabo and Shakuntala Devi were the most-watched movies on the platform in the country. In fact, Gandhi said the films went on to become the most-viewed Hindi movies by the OTT firm’s global subscribers too, across 180 countries.

Prime Video’s slate of direct-to-digital regional movies also were a big draw, Gandhi said, claiming the first set of acquired Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films saw around 50% viewership and even beyond from outside the home states.

The company has acquired 19 (direct-to-digital) films across five languages. A big library of films spanning nine local languages has helped the platform build up an audience. “Prime Video has played a key role in advancing the windows and getting digital premieres soon after theatrical releases, eight weeks for Hindi and four weeks for other Indian languages. We have one of the largest libraries of new Indian languages movies in the video-streaming space,” Gandhi told FE in an email interview.

The move to also enable consumers to navigate the platform in local languages (Prime Video supports user interface in three regional languages) and adding the features of dubbing/subtitling to international content further widens accessibility to the platform. “…we launched Parasite in India with Hindi dubs, opening up viewership to an entirely new set of customers,” Gandhi said.

The OTT firm is gearing up to launch a diverse slate of India originals in the coming years. Nearly 55 original series are in various stages of development and 31 in different stages of production. In 2021, Mumbai Diaries, political thriller Taandav and the second season of The Family Man will be up for streaming by viewers.

“The growth of subscription video-streaming services in India will continue to accelerate rapidly, backed by continued focus on local original content, increasing disposable incomes and growing base of discerning customers,” Gandhi said.

The platform has also gained from Prime’s e-commerce proposition. The lockdown saw many consumers shopping online, including those from remote towns like Tawang and Mokokchung who subscribed to Prime, giving the OTT player access to untapped markets.

Gandhi said the company has seen “very strong growth” in absolute viewing hours by Prime members as well as a surge in first-time viewership. In India today, Prime Video is watched in more than 4,300 cities and towns. Priced at one of the cheapest rates — `129 per month and `999 annually, Prime Video competes with global players Netflix, Disney+Hotstar and a clutch of homegrown video services.

Read Also: OTT industry to draft a tool kit to implement self-regulation code

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First published on: 28-11-2020 at 08:19 IST