The recent Twitter spat between Hotstar and Netflix (on an allegedly copied creative idea for an ad) is enough to understand how hot the OTT (over the top) space in India is, currently. As if numerous Indian networks’ OTT services weren’t enough, US-based Netflix entered India in January this year. And things are only going to get racier with the soon to be launched Amazon Prime Video.
This week saw the launch of Amazon Prime, wherein users will be able to get free shipping for anything they order with no price cap. This is soon going to be followed up by the launch of Amazon’s online video service which is already established in mature markets. A move watched by many as the battle intensifies.
Netflix, which believes that there is still much to learn and discover when it comes to a dynamic market like India, isn’t paying too much heed to the upcoming rival service. “Many people will subscribe to several services (including Netflix) because each of these players will have different, exclusive content. What is important is that Netflix is focussed on making its service better – better personalisation, better streaming, better movies and TV shows etc,” says a Netflix spokesperson.
“For example, we have just announced the launch of Sacred Game, our first Netflix India original.”
Ashok Lalla, an independent digital and marketing advisor, observes that the Amazon Prime delivery service launched currently is a watered-down version of its Prime service offering in the US. But video is an altogether different space.
“While OTT players and Netflix are active, it is still early days in the space. To predict the potential success of Amazon Prime Video right now would be premature,” he says.
In 2014, Amazon had hired Sony Liv’s Nitesh Kripalani as director and country head of Amazon Video India. Since then the e-commerce giant has been building on the service.
“With data prices going down, Indian and international players will dive into creating and syndicating edgy, snacky and sticky content, typically not available on television. The war for paid subscription models for premium content will also continue to thrive alongside monetisation through advertising,” says Shifa Maitra, content head at #fame.
Digital space observers believe that in India, both Netflix and the yet-to-be launched Amazon Prime Video can survive and fight off national players if they continue to offer premium content at competitive prices. The entry or trial packages need to be priced very attractively for Indian audiences to try out the paid model and gradually upgrade to higher prices, over time.