Prime Video wants to open new paths with local language content


As Amazon looks for new users, it is increasingly looking to India as a market, and entertainment continues to be its bait to attract more customers to its platform, albeit through the association Prime.

With a yearly subscription of 999 reais, Amazon delivers ad-free, episodic content, music, exclusive e-commerce offers, and faster, free-of-charge freight delivery on your doorstep.

Now the US e-commerce and entertainment giant is seeking regional or local content to attract new users and keep its existing users coming back. "(Local content) is incredibly important," said Vijay Subramaniam, director and director – content for Amazon Prime Video India. "India is diverse with multiple cultures. No customer is better served without regard. "

With the maturation of India's internet infrastructure, thanks to Reliance Jio, a large number of people started streaming content online, opening up a great opportunity for content streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. India already has 475 smartphone users, but penetration is not metropolitan cities is still only 40-45%, leaving plenty of room for content creators and distributors to play. In meters, the penetration is much greater of 80 to 85%.

Both Netflix and Prime promise to offer a movie experience in terms of story and video quality, which will force people to pay for their subscription services. The content business, however, for the American platforms of streaming, India has been a hard nut to crack. Amazon has just secured a market share of 5% by March 2018, according to the Jana Mobile Majority Report. Netflix had 1.4%. Indian rivals like Hotstar reigned with 69.4% share, and SonyLIV (despite its irregular streaming service) had 13%.

Why not? According to Media Partners Asia, India's digital video market is $ 700 million, more than triple, to $ 2.4 billion by 2023. According to the latest FICCI Frames Study, there are about two million paid digital subscribers in application providers, including video platforms, and 1-1.5 million customers who have switched completely to digital media. The number of people using only digital platforms is expected to increase to four million by 2020, and subscription revenue is expected to exceed 200 million rupees.

Regional, if the numbers of the film industry are considered, will play a big role. According to Deloitte, the Indian film industry is dominated by Hindi films, accounting for 43% of total industry revenue, which is over $ 2.1 billion. Half of the revenue comes from regional cinema, and the remaining 7% comes from international cinema.

Local content is 70% of the Prime Video mix in India, with the rest being English. "In that 70% our mix is ​​evolving," said Subramaniam. "On November 1st, we added Kannada … The mix is ​​changing fast. Prime is the fastest growing association in the country … and video is an important part of it. "

Originals, dubs

In an attempt to attract new customers, Netflix has put its weight on the original Indian content. She released Lust Stories, her first episodic series Sacred Games, starring Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, a ghoul horror thriller, among others, all originally in Hindi and later dubbed in other languages.

Amazon is taking the location a step further. In addition to making originals in Hindi, Prime is looking to make originals in regional languages. It is the first – GangStars is an original in Telugu, later dubbed in Hindi. Subramaniam does not want to divulge the exact number, but Amazon has more regional originals in the pipeline, especially in Telugu and Tamil. "Right now our focus is on Tamil and Telugu … We like to test and learn from our customers. A lot of work is already under way, "he said.

One thing that Amazon wants to focus on is high-quality video, even with regional content. "The experience of working with Amazon is like making a movie in 10 parts," said Sanjay Reddy, director of Silly Monks Entertainment, producer of GangStars.

Reddy is not a beginner in the digital world. Silly Monks directs 800 channels on YouTube, which also has a major focus on regional videos and local talent. Reddy has also made two webseries for Zee5 (Zee Network's OTT platform) and is launching its first 24Kisses digital film. With all the experience, it's still not easy to get a break from Prime Video.

Of the half dozen stories he sent, only one was accepted. It is important to remain true to history and remain authentic, explained Subramaniam. "At the heart of any decision is what our customers say and want. It is important for us to connect a Tamil story with our Tamil clients. That said, what we've learned is that the more authentic our stories are, the more successful they become outside the community, "he added.

Meanwhile, Prime Video also began offering regional versions of popular Hollywood films such as Mission Impossible, Inferno, Transformers, The Dark Knight, and more. He also dubbed his original Hindi Inside Edge and Breathe in other regional languages.

There are other content platforms with a high degree of local language consumption. According to Vidooly, a digital entertainment tracker, Telugu videos are the most watched in the entertainment category on YouTube. For example, the Telugu Sarrainodu digital premiere on YouTube had more than 183 million views.

India's largest OTT platform, Hotstar, also has a large bouquet of regional content, but mostly Star's regional television programs. He began focusing on regional content in 2016. He currently has more than nine languages ​​offering more than a ton of sports, TV shows and movies.

What if other OTT platforms reach? "I do not think we'll run out of ideas for the story any time soon," Subramaniam said without hesitation. Prime already offers content in six local languages: Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali and Kannada (the Kannada was added on November 1st). While Prime will continue to add more regional languages, it will also order more originals in other languages.

Follow the population

Amazon has an easy metric for launching languages ​​for Prime Videos. "… Tamil is the second largest population, followed by Telugu, Kannada, followed by Marathi," said Subramaniam. "We are moving in that direction, which communities consume content and want to have fun in those languages. It is a considerable market. "(Editor's note: The 2011 Indian Population Census lists Bengali as the most spoken language in India after Hindi and English, followed by Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, and Urdu.)

When Amazon started adding new languages, it was from a learning that more people wanted to watch their regional films. Then Amazon began to acquire regional film rights and added to the catalog. But for soap and TV shows, viewers were pleased with their DTH television provider. At Amazon, what they were looking for was finite fiction of high quality, stories that are cinematic in nature but have multi-season potential. They wanted to consume a variety of genres that they can consume at will, depending on the mood.

For Reddy, digital is still an evolving medium for a large part of the country. But for a category, which is youth, many of them have stopped watching television. GangStars was attracting them. "That was the population we were targeting," he said.

Reddy, however, does not deny that with the rise of Reliance Jio, internet consumption is becoming ubiquitous. For example, a housewife may not be sitting in front of the television for her daily dose of entertainment. "She watches what she wants on her smartphone while cooking in the kitchen," adds Reddy.

This changeable behavior and personalized video consumption are driving companies like Amazon to deepen the cultural fabric of India. But Amazon may not reap the benefits of regional content investment soon.

Faisal Kawoosa, founder and chief analyst at technology research firm techARC, said there are three types of people who consume content online: people who pay for content, people who understand digital and people who do not want to pay for content.

Local language content, according to Kawoosa, is largely for people who do not want to pay and consume videos on YouTube. "The people leaning toward Netflix and Amazon are people who are looking for international content … the local language content caters to the category of users of levels II and III," he said.

In addition, smartphones used by people who are most interested in local language content are of inferior quality, which may not be great for displaying Netflix or Prime Video. "Local language content is a good complement for people who want to watch international content in English on these platforms," ​​said Kawoosa.

Subramaniam does not completely agree. "At Amazon, our goal is to give you what you want, whenever you want, wherever you want, whatever you want," he said.

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