Amazon Video and Netflix Vie for India Market
With 460 million Internet users, India is a huge market that is driven by a strong demand for viewing locally generated content. According to KPMG India, U.S. and western programming commands a 0.5 percent viewership share on Indian television, compared to over 60 percent for domestic entertainment. Likewise, Hollywood and foreign films manage a less than 10 percent share at the box office, though this pie is showing signs of gradual growth. India is a market where local content rules.
Amazon upped the ante by offering its Prime Video at an introductory annual subscription of $7.50, at par with Netflix’s basic monthly fees, and similar to Netflix, Prime Video is offered for a free 30-day trial to new subscribers. It is also available free to Amazon’s existing Prime shopping service subscribers. This pricing takes on various other competitors such as ErosNow, owned by film major Eros International, which charges between 75 cents-$1.50 per month and Hotstar, from Fox’s Star India network, which charges about $3 per month for its premium service, says the Hollywood Reporter.
Price is one factor to be considered, for sure. However, the actual competition exists in content creation, which according to Mumbai-based entertainment industry analyst Jehil Thakkar “is going to be the real differentiator between all OTT [over-the-top content which is the delivery of audio, video, and other media over the Internet without the involvement of a multiple-system operator in the control or distribution of the content] platforms.”
Netflix has so far announced its first Indian original, Sacred Games, which will be produced by Phantom Films, co-founded by film-maker Anurag Kashyap. Phantom has also been signed by Amazon to produce two shows, Stardust and The Family Man. Bollywood banner Excel Entertainment is producing three Amazon shows: Mirzapur, Powerplay and Made in Heaven. Amazon’s recent pacts include new titles from Dharma Productions, Vishesh Films and T-Series, among others.
Netflix initially acquired some Indian arthouse films and a few Bollywood and regional language fare. It recently announced a coup — a licensing pact with Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan‘s banner Red Chillies Entertainment, giving it global rights to its recent Dear Zindagi and titles such as Happy New Year and Om Shanti Om.