After months of speculation, e-commerce giant Amazon has launched its Prime Video service in India
After months of speculation, e-commerce giant Amazon has launched its Prime Video service in India armed with new Bollywood releases and regional movies, Hollywood movies, kids programming and original content from the US, followed by originals from India. The service went live in 242 countries across the world simultaneously from Wednesday.
Being the second major global player to enter the market after Netflix, Amazon is focussing on pricing and content as the key pillars to stay differentiated from other OTT players in the country. Amazon Prime members in India will have access to unlimited streaming video, ad-free and on-demand, at no additional cost to their R499 annual Prime membership with a 30-day free trial. While sources say that the annual membership of R499 will eventually go up to R999 in a span of few months, Amazon officials refused to comment on the same. Interestingly, Amazon Prime Video’s subscription is among the most affordable as compared to other OTT platforms.
Amazon Instant Video, International VP Tim Leslie told FE, “India is the sixth country we have added Prime Video to after the US, the UK, Germany, Austria and Japan. We are making huge investments in India and trying to make the Amazon and Prime experience a great one for our customers. Prime has been an important innovation, and we will keep making sure it is great value for our customers in India.”
While the content slate on offer at launch boasts of day-after-broadcast of US TV shows, kids programming including Japanese anime and local shows, Amazon Original Series besides Bollywood and regional movies, it is the India Original series that the company is focussing on. The original content being produced in India will be available for users starting spring 2017 with its first sports drama, Powerplay.
The Amazon Original Indian Series will include genres such as drama, comedy, psychological thrillers, biopics, period/action, mythological/fantasy, sports dramas and political satire.
Amazon Video India director and country head Nitesh Kripalani said, “Our strategy is to be customer centric and our content selection is based on what customers have told us and we want to change the way consumers consume content and creators make content.”
The new shows include Bodhidharma: Master of Shaolin (martial arts, drama), Breathe (thriller), The Ministry (political satire), Mirzapur (action, drama, romance), Stardust (period drama, Bollywood), The Family Man (action thriller, comedy), Vishpuri (detective, comedy) and Made in Heaven (drama, comedy). The company has nine more shows signed and under production which also include shows in the reality space.
Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Studios head of content, Asia Pacific, James Farrell said, “We started a year ago to see what content would work here, and movies and kids content came up tops. The third element and the most important was original, high quality content and we will start launching the slate around spring 2017. The big difference that we feel in India as compared to any other country is in the local content that we are bringing in and maybe that’s why it took us a while to hire a local team and work with the content creators here.”
Amazon Prime Video claims to add content every month and going ahead, the content slate will include Japanese shows and Korean movies among others. The company has also partnered with Sony Pictures Network, NDTV Good Times and Rajshri among others, to license the content.
In addition to new Indian Original Series, Prime members will also have access to the global Amazon Original Series from the US, including Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle and one of the most-streamed Amazon Original Series by Amazon Prime members globally, The Man in the High Castle. This line up will also include the new global adventure show The Grand Tour.
As reported earlier by FE, several Bollywood and regional films in Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Marathi will premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video within a few weeks after their theatrical release including Sultan, Kabali, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Kaashmora, Theri, Killing Veerapan, 1 – Nenokkadine, Khawto and Family Katta along with Indian shows like Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, CID and Crime Patrol among others.