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Doubling content that Indians like is Amazon Prime Video formula

Creating or finding content that caters to different languages, different age groups and different regions is a challenge — but is also a “cool thing”, say top executives of Amazon Prime Video.

While finding content to meet the need of a “broad range of customers” is tricky, James Farrell, Head of Content, Prime Video, Asia Pacific, and Vijay Subramaniam, Director, Content, Amazon Prime Video India, say they have started to identify what works in the Indian market, and are “doubling that”.

Their formula: Double the hits and skip the rest.

Since launching its video-on-demand service in December last year, every decision pertaining to the market here has been a litmus test for the Amazon Prime Video India. For the executives, the diversity of the country has turned out to be a “cool thing” as well as a challenge.

“The cool thing about being part of Amazon as well as the heaviest obligation is that we have so many different customers around the country… Different languages, different age groups, different gender — and they don’t like the same type of content,” Farrell told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

He said they have tried to make the platform a vessel for different Indian stories.

“The main challenge before we launched was on the content side: About what type of content people want to see. There are so many options — original content, reality, comedy and documentary. So, we started with a little bit of everything and now we are seeing what works,” added Farrell.

Asked how the challenges have changed in the last over six months, Subramaniam said: “It is really very early days for us to think about it. I think we have got a lot of distance to cover… We’re beginning to see what content is more preferred and starting to double down on that.”

The platform offers foreign content in terms of TV shows as well as films, stand-up comedy specials and has planned 18 originals in the fiction category. Patrons can access the content on their mobile phones or laptops at Rs 499 a year.

For the first scripted show, the officials placed their bet on a story of cricket and all the politics and business involved outside the field through “Inside Edge”, starring Angad Bedi, Richa Chadha and Vivek Oberoi.

Now, they have taken their first step towards tapping into the ever-popular reality TV genre in India. Last month, the platform announced it will be create “multiple unscripted Originals” (reality shows) for India.

The line-up comes to life with three new reality shows — “Destination Unknown”, “Comic Kaun” and “The Remix”. The shows will premiere in the first quarter next year.

Farrell says they are studying the Indian market with care, and taking notes to help them establish themselves.

“Salman Khan is a key partner of (one of our) initiatives. He is hugely popular in these areas (tier 2 and tier 3 cities)… (The partnership) is not only to make his films available to those customers but super early even before they go live on TV,” Farrell said while explaining one point from his case study.

The competition is hot among all the streaming services, with Netflix coming out with several shows with Indian talent on board.

Reflecting on that, Farrell said: “There are different ways to watch content and Indian consumers are responding to that. Everybody has got pretty unique business models.”

For the future, Farrell says they will “keep learning and (making) good investments”.

(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at [email protected])

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IANS, also known as Indo-Asian News Service is a private news agency. IANS covers topics related to politics, entertainment, sports, general and world news etc.