As a content market, there are similarities between Japan and India. Consumers in both India and Japan watch a lot of local content alongside US content, whereas in markets like Australia and Singapore, US content is extremely popular.
Competition amongst video streaming apps is intensifying. The players involved are creating more of local, original content to cater to the rising demand. James Farrell, head of content – APAC, Amazon Prime Video tells FE’s Anushree Bhattacharyya how their service is perfectly priced at Rs 999 on an annual basis, especially when the Indian market is flooded with OTT players offering either free content or content a premium rate. Excerpts:
How is the content strategy you follow in India is different from other Asian markets?
As a content market, there are similarities between Japan and India. Consumers in both India and Japan watch a lot of local content alongside US content, whereas in markets like Australia and Singapore, US content is extremely popular. What this also means is that in markets like Singapore and Australia , we don’t have to make a library of original series, whereas in India and Japan a lot of the budget is spent in making a strong line up of original content including web series in regional languages such as Tamil, Telugu, acquiring films, etc.
At the time of launch you had announced 20 originals. But so far only three including Remix, Inside Edge and Breathe have been telecast. Has the big bang strategy worked?
Most of the shows are under various stages of production. It takes time to make high quality programmes. By far the two most watched series in India on Amazon Prime Video are Inside Edge and Breathe, more than Wonder Woman or Spider Man. If we had announced only two shows and then waited for the response, it would have taken us about two more years before releasing another set of original programmes. The new set of content would be released this year as well as next year.
How does Amazon compete with mass products especially those video streaming platforms run by traditional broadcasters like Hotstar, Voot and SonyLiv?
There are two kind of extremes in the market. On one hand there are free to watch platforms such as Youtube and Hotstar, on the other there are video streaming services for which consumers have to pay a premium. From a customer stand point it is the best situation, as she gets access to variety of programmes. I am happy with how we are placed — we aren’t trying to be either a free service or a premium player. In terms of pricing we are right in the middle. Customers find value in our pricing, at the same they get to watch content with an ad free experience. In addition to the video service, a customer is able to avail shopping benefits.
So, is the e-commerce business driving content consumption or is it the other way?
That’s the best part about Prime. There are a lot of people who have availed Prime because of shipping benefits. For example, consumers in Japan are used to getting their goods delivered on the same day or the very next day. For those people Prime video is an additional benefit which they avail for free. Then there are customers who just like to watch good content without any interference and with that comes shopping benefits. So its a great combination of benefits for which consumers signup.