Digital world is democratic with space for all stories: Aparna Purohit, Amazon Prime Video

Purohit, Head of India Originals, Amazon Prime Video, on how the streaming platform has an edge over other content creators and how female-centric content is changing the way women are perceived

e4m by Anjali Thakur
Updated: Apr 16, 2020 2:09 PM
Aparna Purohit, Amazon Prime Videos

VOD/OTT content has been pushing the traditional boundaries of storytelling to bring forth entertainment that is breaking gender stereotypes. In the past year we have witnessed more women-centric content than what mainstream cinema has offered in the last five years.

Shows like ‘Four More Shots Please!’ have seen record viewership since their launch. The show is one of the top three most-watched originals of 2019.   Platforms such as APV is catering to the growing demand of relatable content that audience from across demographics can connect with, making the consumer experience more engaging.

Amazon Prime Video has created an impressive slate of progressive women-led content amidst the buzzing streaming industry. With content trending across the globe, Aparna Purohit, Head of India Originals, Amazon Prime Video spoke to exchange4media on what gives the streaming platform an edge over other content creators and how women-led content is globally changing the way women are perceived. 

Edited excerpts:

Why do we suddenly see an increase in women-centric shows?

The digital world is very democratic; there is space for all kinds of stories. And these stories connect, provoke, inspire and can take us away from the chaos that exists outside. I am so happy that the streaming services by their rapid availability and blood moon shots have paved the way for an evolved and exciting transformation of pre-existing stereotypes – gender and otherwise. Also, I believe that an increase in women behind the camera has likely improved the way women are portrayed on screen.

With more female creative helms – be it writers, directors, producers – comes more female characters, with more agency, better representation and more engaging plots and themes -  something that has never been portrayed before. We now get to see characters that are unforgettable – be it the independent, unapologetically ambitious. ‘Tara’ of Made In Heaven or the four flaw-some girls of Four More Shots Please! have no qualms discussing their sexuality, career, and friendship or the resilient women of Mirzapur who fearlessly speak their mind in a male-dominated world. Also, it’s interesting to note that that the women-centric shows are not just by women and for women; they are enjoyed by men too.

What strategies are you implementing to stay ahead in the content space?

Our aim has always been to provide distinctive, authentic and engaging stories that are entrenched in our soil; stories that will not just connect with audiences in India but will transcend all barriers of language, ethnicity, and nationality to resonate with audiences across the world. We are very happy to share that some of our Amazon Originals like Breathe, Made in Heaven, Inside Edge, Mirzapur, The Family Man, The Forgotten Army and Four More Shots Please!, have found love from across the world. Also, it’s important to know that for us it's not about volumes, it's about quality over quantity. We want Amazon to become a home for talent – where we build a relationship with talent in a way that is supportive and collaborative and the creators keep coming back to create more shows for us. Our endeavour is to foster a creative and simulating ecosystem and our shows are a bi-product of this symbiotic environment.

What will be your content line-up going forward?

Fortunately, 2020 has been a very good year for Amazon Prime Video India in terms of content creation and its offerings. ‘The Forgotten Army’ by Kabir Khan, which launched in January this year, portrayed the true but forgotten story of Indian soldiers who marched towards the capital, with the war cry ‘ChalloDilli’ to free their country from the reign of the British. Next, we are launching the Season 2 of our much-loved show Four More Shots Please! S2 on April 17, 2020. Then, in terms of upcoming shows, we have an interesting line-up of shows with diverse genres such as Bandish Bandits, Mumbai Dairies, Paatal Lokand Dilli amongst others. Some of our most anticipated returning shows are Mirzapur S2, Breathe S2, The Family Man S2 and Inside Edge 3 – all lined up within the next 12 months.

We have also recently introduced ‘Amazon Funnies’, a new visual identity for Amazon Prime Video’s Stand-up Specials. Through this, we are aiming to create a vibrant outlook and feel that will make it extremely relatable to our young audience.

Tell us more about how bullish is APV on its content slate for 2020?

At Amazon Prime Video, we work customer backward – keeping our customers and their needs in mind; then we try to fill the need gap for entertainment that exists. It has been our ongoing mission to create something for everybody - across genres, demographics, geographies and languages. We continue to recognise the diversity of India, and it’s important to serve the taste and preferences of customers in different languages. We also have a compelling slate of feature films in different languages that includes the latest and greatest from both Indian as well as international cinema. The vision is to serve customers effectively, consistently and as creatively as we can. We want to transform the way customers consume entertainment and how creators, create content. Our goal is to be the preferred choice of creators in the country – and the preferred destination for entertainment consumers – across India and global markets. 

Many OTT players are concentrating on languages, are you planning to more of regional content going forward? If yes, then what is the space you are looking at, what are the languages you are looking at?

Indian customers love local stories. Prime Video is now watched by customers in over 4,000 towns and cities across India. We have witnessed a consistent trend where local content has played an important and significant part of our viewership mix – and they have been a primary engine propelling our growth. We plan to continually cater to them seamlessly with the content they want.

Our content library now has shows in 10 languages - including Hindi, Kannada, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali, Malayalam and English. We also have a multi-lingual user interface serving customers in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Our highly acclaimed Indian Originals are available to audiences with English and local subtitles.

We are proud to entertain the ‘many Indians’ and this is just the tip of the iceberg, we have a lot more to achieve.

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