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Amazon Prime Video India earmarks Rs 500 crore for original content

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Amazon Prime Video India earmarks Rs 500 crore for original content

American e-commerce giant Amazon is leaving no stone unturned to gain the maximum market share in India’s OTT space with the report of it earmarking around Rs 500 crore for original content in India.

Amazon launched Prime Video in India in December with the announcement of 17 Indian original shows across drama, comedy, psychological thriller, biopic, mythological, sports drama and political satire with 15 production houses and digital content creators in India. This includes All India Bakchod (AIB), Only Much Louder and Big Synergy, Farhan Akhtar’s Excel Media and Entertainment and Anurag Kashyap’s Phantom Films. The company has committed about one-fourth of its Rs 2,000 crore-India budget to partner with local production houses. The streaming service is reported to pay Rs 40 crore to Excel Media and Entertainment.  The first original show is dated for end of March or early April.

Amazon India didn’t confirm to the figure but maintained that India is top priority market for them. “We will not be able to share specific financial details but we remain heavily invested in our plans for the Indian market.  Our aim is to acquire the best content from leading global and Indian studios and create groundbreaking content with the top producers, directors and talent in India,” says Amazon spokesperson.

The e-commerce giant is aggressive about gaining a foothold in India with its signing spree with multiple production houses in India. Latest was its announcement of long -term alliance with C International Sales, a subsidiary of Cinestaan Film Company, that will make Amazon Prime Video India the exclusive home for two of Toronto International Film Festival’s official selection of Indian films titled, ‘Dev Bhoomi’ (selected for TIFF 2016, Hof International Film Festival) and ‘A Death in the Gunj’ (selected for TIFF 2016 and Busan International Film Festival).

Earlier in January, BBC Worldwide partnered with Amazon Prime Video India which gives its members in India access to more than 600 hours of award-winning and popular factual and pre-school content from the BBC. Subscribers to the service are also able to watch award-winning and highly-rated BBC factual programs such as ‘Gandhi’, ‘The World’s Weirdest Weapons’, and ‘The Genius of Inventions’.

The OTT service and Xilam Animation signed a multi-year content deal (again in January) through which Amazon Prime Video India will have access to all four existing and three upcoming seasons of the popular animated series ‘Oggy& the Cockroaches’ and ‘Zig&Sharko’. Prime members in India are able to watch Xilam Animation’s vast library of top-rated shows such as ‘Floopaloo Where Are You’, ‘A Kind of Magic’, ‘If I Were An Animal’, ‘Paprika’, and ‘The Daltons’.

Amazon Prime Video India’s aggressive localisation and partnership strategy is definitely heating up the competition in OTT space, especially for the other global player Netflix who has relatively few deals in the country. It had signed up with Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies production house and announced an original series with comedian Vir Das in September. Earlier it partnered with Phantom Films to coproduce a Netflix original series (in Hindi-English) based on the critically-acclaimed best-selling novel Sacred Games by Indian author Vikram Chandra. It will be interesting to see how the local content strategy will be played out by these two big players in a bid to attract more subscribers.

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