Sports can come on Amazon Prime Video in different ways: Gaurav Gandhi
Gandhi said that Amazon Prime Video has 70 originals under development across languages
Amazon Prime Video India Director and Country Manager Gaurav Gandhi has said that the streaming service has a holistic view of sports content that transcends live sports, factual and drama. With the media rights of a slew of big sporting properties like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and International Cricket Council (ICC) coming up for renewal, the market is abuzz that Amazon Prime Video will be among the key contenders for the prized events.
Speaking at an event on Tuesday, Gandhi said that the platform will evaluate the properties that are coming up for bids. "We made our start with New Zealand Cricket rights which is a multi-year deal. Globally, we are doing a lot of sports. Cricket and few other big properties have a huge appeal, and we will evaluate all of that," he stated.
In the same breath, he added that Amazon Prime Video's sports content offering spans live sports, sports series and films. "When we look at sports, we have a holistic view on it. We already have sports programming on the platform. Sports can come on Prime Video in different ways," he said. He added that Prime Video is a well-rounded entertainment offering and is not dependent on a single content genre. "Our overall entertainment portfolio has got many strong pieces in it, and we are not dependent on one or the other. We would like to evaluate some of these rights and look at them on merit, but we won't feel compelled to say that we are dependent on one or the other," he added.
Gandhi also hinted that the platform can get access to live sports through its marketplace offering Prime Video Channels, which aggregates third-party OTT apps. "If we do it (live sports), it can come from the marketplace or any other manner and form as we do it in so many parts of the world. We feel good about it that there is an opportunity in the next few years to get into sports and so many rights are opening up, but we will evaluate these as we go along," he said.
On the original content front, Gandhi said that the platform has 70 originals under development across languages. Tamil and Telugu originals will be the next big focus area as it has already launched a lot of originals in Hindi. "We are now expanding to Tamil and Telugu originals. We have over 70 projects in development across various languages. We will double down investments on originals," he informed.
He revealed that 1 out of 5 viewers for Prime Video's India originals come from outside the country. Further, over 50% of the consumption for South Indian language films happens outside their home states. "Our content strategy is aimed at addressing all the segments. We don't have a one size fits all content strategy. We are programming individually to each member of the family whether they choose to watch together or individually," he averred.
According to Gandhi, the addressable SVOD market in India has 50 million subscribers which will cross 100 million over a period of time. He also said that India is heterogeneous and one price and one content package may not be possible. He also said that customers are willing to pay for the content provided the pricing is right.
Queried if the OTT platforms will pass on the burden of increase in content investments to the consumers by way of price hike, Gandhi said that SVOD players will "make natural adjustments on these things as we go forward". "Considering the kind of investments being made, the economic model has to make sense for everybody," he said. He also said that SVOD players have multiple pricing options to allow customers to make the right choice. Value-conscious people, he said, will pay if the content is of high quality. He also noted that Indian content is comparable to international content as it is watched outside the country in a significant way.
The Amazon Prime Video India head said that streaming services have played a big role in fuelling the growth of the film industry over the last couple of years not just by the investments they make but also by the kind of reach that they provide. "These films have been watched in 4,000-5,000 cities in India and 180 countries around the world. Indian movies were not able to get that reach internationally."
On the way forward for film releases, Gandhi said that the industry will follow a hybrid model as some movies will go straight to streaming platforms and some will come after releasing in theatres."We are comfortable with that."
Gandhi made these comments while speaking at Media Partners Asia's (MPA) APOS India Summit on Tuesday.
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