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'India Is The No.1 Country Outside The US...'

By Vanita Kohli-Khandekar
April 10, 2024 10:40 IST
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'India has the largest slate of local original content outside the US.'

IMAGE: Shweta Tripathi, Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Rasika Dugal, Divyendu, Harshita Gaur and Amit Sial in Mirzapur 2.

Amazon Prime Video recently showcased its upcoming India slate. Its popular shows such as Mirzapur and Paatal Lok will see their new seasons. There are a bunch of new shows, several in Tamil and Telugu, that will join the party.

In all, 69 shows, films and licensed programmes will be premiering on the service in the next two years.

Prime Video, part of the $575 billion online retail giant Amazon, has an estimated 230 million members globally.

"India and Japan have a very different taste profile and we invest a lot more in local content here because it is much harder to get Western stories to cut through," Kelly Day, vice president, international, Amazon Prime Video, tells Vanita Kohli-Khandekar.

Where is India on the Amazon Prime Video dashboard?

We know that most of the growth in Prime Video, now and in the foreseeable future, will be primarily outside the US. That is where the big opportunity is.

For the past several years, India has been -- and will be for some time -- the number one country outside the US for new Prime members.

Of our Prime membership, India has the highest percentage of members watching Prime video. The service is incredibly popular among Indian customers.

That has led us to continue to invest in more original content. India has the largest slate of local original content outside the US.


IMAGE: Jaideep Alhawat in Paatal Lok.

Is this growth parallel to that of your retail business? What is the connection between the two?

Our north star is delivering to be the most valuable membership programme in the world.

We know that the combination of streaming, shipping, music, games, combined delivers incredible value to our customers.

We have seen, especially outside the US, that streaming, especially video, is leading the way in bringing new Prime customers into Amazon.

And from there, we see a lot of opportunity for people to start in as streamers and then become shoppers.

In the same way that we see an opportunity for people to come in for shopping and eventually convert to be streamers. It goes both ways.

IMAGE: Raghubir Yadav, Jitendra Kumar, Chandan Roy and Faisal Malik in Panchayat 2.

What does bringing other services (like Lionsgate) or channels (like BBC) or sports do for Amazon Prime Video?

The idea is to provide great value in enormous selection.

It is about what we think our customers need and want to watch. A 100 per cent of that will not be fulfilled by our SVoD (streaming video-on-demand) service, local and global productions and licensing.

To deliver on the promise of great selection, we have adopted a lot of different business models -- SVoD, TVoD (transaction video-on-demand), AVoD (advertising video-on-demand), FAST (free ad-supported television) and linear channels.

We are very bullish on sports.

We have acquired big sports -- Thursday Night Football in US, Champions League in Germany and Italy among others.

The cost of sports rights continues to escalate, so we have to be selective. But we also know the fandom around sports is unparalleled.

We try to complement our sports offering of rights plus third party channels which can round off the offering.

So we have DAZN (a British sports OTT) in a bunch of countries, TNT Sports in the UK.

One of the shows you just announced is Fallout, based on a gaming IP (intellectual property). Is gaming an area of focus or did Fallout just happen to come by?

We have certainly seen success and believe in investing and building around IPs in books or games.

Video games are unusual in the scale of people who engage in them.

Fallout is a massively successful video game and it is global.

IMAGE: Mike Hopkins, Head of Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios, along with Kelly Day, Vice President, International, Prime Video in Mumbai. Photograph: Pradeep Bandekar

What are the quirks you notice in content consumption in the countries you operate in?

India and Japan function more differently than other parts of the world.

There is a lot of similarity in what people like in UK, Canada, US, Australia and Brazil.

India and Japan have a very different taste profile and we invest a lot more in local content here because it is much harder to get Western stories to cut through.

What are the opportunities and challenges you see in streaming?

The opportunity is that we are still very early in this whole cycle.

There is way more upside in India for people to move from linear to streaming, whether AVoD or SVoD.

The challenge: We are a global community of people absolutely bombarded by choice.

There really has never been a better time to be a consumer because there is more content selection and more ways to consume it than there ever has been.

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Vanita Kohli-Khandekar
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