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General News Amazon to join OTT battle in India, prepares for Prime Video launch soon
[Image: qhP6FEw.png]MUMBAI: Amazon will join the over-the-top (OTT) video streaming battle in India, a space that has found attraction from a wide spectrum of players including US giant Netflix and traditional television broadcasters like Star India, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) and Viacom18.

Amazon will soon launch in India its premium on-demand entertainment service Amazon Prime Video, thereby entering the OTT market in one of the fastest-growing economies of the world.

Netflix has already launched in India and is lining up local content to grow its almost invisible subscriber base.

Amazon has indicated that India would soon see the launch of Prime Video. It has, however, not given any specific date for launching the service.

The Seattle-headquartered online retailer, which finally launched its Amazon Prime subscription service in India, has committed to invest $5 billion to push its e-commerce business against home-grown rivals Flipkart and Snapdeal.

The company thinks that, bunched with e-commerce, its video-streaming entertainment service will have a good chance to succeed in India.

In order to tap the market, the e-commerce giant had roped in former SPNI (earlier known as Multi Screen Media) EVP Nitesh Kripalani, the brain behind Sony Liv and Liv Sports, as director and country head of Amazon Video India in late 2014. Since then, the company has been slowly building its local content plan.

Kripalani has been engaged in negotiations with some of the country’s largest music and movie companies, including Yash Raj Films and Balaji Telefilms. It is already active in acquiring movie titles and is developing local-language content.

As per information on Amazon’s website, Prime Video will offer users exclusive access to Amazon Original Series and Movies, as well as premium movies and TV shows from Indian and global content providers.

Amazon Prime Video offers thousands of movies and TV episodes, including popular licensed content plus critically acclaimed and award-winning Amazon Original Series and Movies from Amazon Studios like ‘Transparent’, ‘The Man in the High Castle’, ‘Chi Raq’ and kids series, ‘Tumble Leaf’.

In India, the pricing of Amazon Prime Video is still not clear. If the launch of Prime is any indication, then the video streaming service could be aggressively priced. It could even come as a bundle along with Prime which will be priced at Rs 999 per year, after its Rs 499 introductory offer period is over.

Netflix, on the other hand, has not played the price card in India. It runs three packages, namely basic, standard and premium, priced at Rs 500, Rs 650 and Rs 800 respectively. The basic package does not support HD streaming, which the standard package does. The premium pack supports HD as well as ultra HD streaming.

Amazon’s big bet on video-streaming service in the US

In the US, Amazon has taken OTT players like Netflix head on as it started offering its video-streaming service in April as a standalone option. It has deals with HBO for older content and with premium TV network Epix. It has also ramped up buying of independent movies.

Amazon reportedly spends about $3 billion on streaming video content. Netflix has indicated that its content spending could increase from $5 billion in 2016 to more than $6 billion in 2017.

Amazon Prime Video is available in the US, UK, Germany and Japan.

Amazon Prime Video to join a long list of OTT players in India

Amazon Prime Video will join a long list of Indian and foreign OTT players that have launched in India to take advantage of the booming digital content consumption in the country.

Netflix, Hooq, and Viu are some of the OTT players to launch in India. They compete with local OTT players like Hotstar (Star India), Sony Liv (SPNI), Voot (Viacom18), OZEE (ZEEL), Hungama Play and Eros Now. Then there are players like Ditto TV (ZEEL), YuppTV and nexGTv that offer linear TV channels on the web and app.

Some platforms like Netflix, Hooq, Eros Now, Hungama Play, YuppTV and Ditto TV are subscription-based services. Most of the OTT platforms launched by broadcasters like Hotstar, Voot and OZEE are free. Hotstar recently rolled out premium subscription-led offering featuring HBO content.

Amazon Prime launched in India

Amazon Prime is now available in India. Users can get unlimited free one-day and two-day delivery to over a hundred cities in India besides early access to ‘Lightning Deals.

The service is currently available on free trial for 60 days. After 60 days, users can choose to sign up for Prime at a special introductory price of Rs 499 a year. There is no minimum order size. Later, users will have to pay an annual subscription fee of Rs 999.

Prime members also enjoy discounted same-day, morning and scheduled delivery to pin codes in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and more cities across India.

Aware of the price sensitive market, Amazon Prime is priced cheaper in India. In the US, Amazon Prime costs $99 (about Rs 6,700) per year and has some extra features like access to over a million e-books from Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and free unlimited photo storage.


Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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