It is important to respect the audience's diversity: Vijay Subramaniam, Amazon Prime Video

Subramaniam, Director & Content Head, Amazon Prime Video talks about increasing competition in the OTT space and why Television will always be a thriving universe

by Moumita Bhattacharjee
Published - Sep 18, 2019 8:22 AM Updated: Sep 18, 2019 2:30 PM

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Vijay Subramaniam Amazon

At the launch of Amazon Prime Video’s new Indian original Family Man, Vijay Subramaniam, Director and Head, Content, Amazon Prime Video talks to exchange4media about the increasing competition in the OTT space and why Television will always be a thriving universe.

The directors of the series Family Man, Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, mentioned that they had the idea for a few years now. What made you go ahead with it?

It happened about two and a half years ago. When we started, we recognised a couple of things as it relates to our customers; their tastes and preferences. The first thing was customers love films, what they wanted from us was to give them content early and bring in the latest and the greatest. We learnt that customers love comedy and there wasn’t enough of it. We also learned that the long format cinematic TV, limited episode series, is something that they enjoy watching when they could but have little access to it because nobody was making them. So when we started off we were quite clear that what we wanted was the cinematic vision. When Raj and DK brought this to us, we thoroughly loved it. It’s smart, a great mix of plot and drama and it was incredibly relatable.

There is a constant conversation about Bharat vs India content on OTT platforms. What has Amazon Prime observed in terms of content consumption by its subscribers?

The interesting thing is Amazon Prime has viewership coming from over 4000 towns and cities. We believe we are many Indias. It is important for us to respect the diversity, not just the customer base but taste and preferences also. We offer content in 9 different languages, Hindi is one of them. We have a Kesari and then a Newton. It is very important for us that we are not losing sight of the diversity.

As per the KPMG report ‘India’s Digital Future: Mass of Niches, Amazon Prime Video acquired the highest number of digital rights of movies in 2018-19. What is the idea behind giving it an OTT release before a Television telecast?

It’s just the opportunity of bringing the latest content to the customers sooner. They see great value in being able to watch a film soon enough even though they miss the theatrical window. We see that driving a great value for the customers. A lot of factors matter to the customers and convenience is right at the top. This is a great demonstration of convenience. It is important to keep in mind that here, unlike Television, you are your programmer. You stack up against your own watchlist.

It is said that the OTT industry in the next couple of years will be on par with Television in terms of viewership. What are your thoughts on this?

Frankly, there is a thriving TV universe and I don’t see that going away anytime soon. These are different pools of content and they are applied differently. So behaviours around this are also pretty distinctive. Do I see it raising the bar of creativity? Yes Of course! Customers will become more demanding and that’s a good thing. But it is important to keep in mind that it is really early days for streaming overall and India is a big country.

We have been growing and that’s been pretty consistent, regardless of everything else happening in the universe of entertainment. If you look at the Prime program, there’s video, shipping, shopping, music, all of that for Rs 129/ month or Rs 999/year. That’s a pretty compelling proposition.

With a lot of new players like Apple TV+ ready to enter Indian markets with competitive pricing, do you think the competition will get even tougher?

India has always been a value-conscious and value-seeking country. I think there’s a lot of innovation that happened because of that and that will continue. It is in our psyche became VFM is an important element in our life, regardless of where we are. These are really early days. There are a lot of customers out there and it is a large country. These services are coming and we will see what happens. Some will speak to certain segments. 

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