Streaming movies space sizzles with Amazon’s entry

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on December 14, 2016


Content, pricing and ease of payment are the key draws for consumers

Will Amazon’s newly-launched SVOD platform Prime Video spell a turf war? Over-the-top players and market analyst note that content, pricing and ease of payment will be a key strategic area for consumers to shift preferences.

India’s OTT market already has players such as Star-owned Hotstar, Viacom18’s Voot, Netflix, Spuul and Hungama.

Original content

Amazon Prime Video is looking to tap the pulse of the Indian consumers with a slew original content that too from Bollywood and regional films stable. “India has one of the richest and most vibrant entertainment industries in the world. Amazon is energised by the talent and passion in India and we are making multiple Indian original shows,” Roy Price, V-P, Head of Amazon Studios said.

For starters, Amazon Prime Video services will offer a current Bollywood release merely three weeks after its theatrical release and much ahead of its television or blue ray premiere. It has already inked content deals with Bollywood giants such as Karan Johar’s Dharma productions, Mukesh Bhatt’s Vishesh Films and T-Series.

Competitors such as Netflix too recently announced its first local series Sacred Games. It has also partnered with Phantom Films, a film studio founded by Anurag Kashyap, Madhu Mantena, Vikramaditya Motwane and Vikas Bahl to produce the series. However, its Bollywood content line up is still notches below Prime Video. Netflix’s subscription is priced at ₹500.

Others such as Hotstar, Hooq, Voot, Hungama and Vuclip too are strengthening their offerings.

Ajit Mohan, CEO, Hotstar, said: “Unlike many other markets around the world, India is not barren territory when it comes to online video. The big difference in India is that there is already a Hotstar which has brought together a proposition that in many markets, is fragmented for consumers across 2-3 different platforms: new TV shows, movie premieres before television, live sports and international TV shows at the same time as America.”

Hotstar recently started selling its most popular international TV series and films, largely from the 21st Century Fox library, for a monthly subscription fee of ₹500. Other market competitors such as Eros International’s Eros Now recently said it had over two million paid subscribers worldwide through significant deals. Eros’ movie library has over 5,000 films and a further library of 5,000 films being added to this list.

Digital consumption

Rajiv Vaidya, CEO, Spuul India, also noted that, “Globally, viewership is moving towards VOD and one can also see this increasing adoption of digital video consumption in India too. With robust smartphone penetration and the launch of 4G, one can foresee a tectonic shift in consumption that will forever change the entertainment industry. With the entry of the likes of Amazon Prime, the VOD space will be poised for growth as video content will be created and marketed specifically for the web and devices. However, content, accessibility and overall user experience will be a game changer for any player to succeed in India.” He said Spuul has 18million users of which 80 per cent consume content on smartphones.

Industry watchers, however, note that Amazon’s video service has been challenging Netflix globally.

Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and CEO Gry Hound research, notes, “Amazon as an e-commerce firm has a deep understanding of consumer experience and huge data analytics experience. Unlike its competitors, it doesn’t have to spend on customer acquisitions. Additionally, bundled up services with Prime will bring in existing customers and easy payment gateways.”

Published on December 14, 2016
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