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Amazon India to launch 10 originals in 2018

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MUMBAI: With the advent of digital and data cost coming down, there is a cut-throat competition among digital players to grab as many eyeballs as they can. Amazon Prime Video is set to launch 10 original shows in 2018 for India.

These include unscripted shows like Remix which is nearing its release, Comicstan which will be a hunt for the next stand-up comic and two more shows where the titles are in the final stages. This will later be followed by director Zoya Akhtar’s premier striped fiction - Made in Heaven along with Mirzapur and 4 More Shots. While calling the shows a pure labour of love, Amazon Prime Video India director content Vijay Subramaniam says, "We are very clear that we want to give our customers high quality and the process of setting that up takes a really long time. For every story we create, we make sure it gets the amount go time it deserves to be put together.”

E-commerce website amazon.in helps prime video in a great deal to penetrate into smaller markets as people already have a relationship with the brand. Subramaniam is of the opinion that young consumers in India like unscripted content and Amazon Prime Video and although the platform is only a year old, they want to get to a place where they will know what the right mix between scripted and unscripted is.

With a solid set of content on its platform and an equally aggressive attitude like Netflix and Hotstar, the platform banks on creative content marketing for the promotions of its shows. Amazon chose a funny path to promote American comedy web series The Tick with Indian comedian Jose Covaco who created hilarious videos about what the audience can expect from the show. 

José Covaco

With digital changing the way brands communicate with audience, Amazon Video uses social media in a large way to connect with the consumer and as a marketing tool but also leverages out of home (OOH) in a big way to promote the shows and the platform itself. But it wants to restrict its OOH only to metro cities as that is where the majority of viewership comes from. 

Amazon Video was launched in 2006 but came to India only in December 2016. Launched with an initial offer price of Rs 499 for free and faster delivery of goods bought on Amazon, free content viewing, and free music streaming, the subscription cost is expected to go up to Rs 999 this year. The move might come as a bad news for several subscribers as they might not be willing to pay the extra buck resulting in a drop of subscribers. 

Although the platform had a lukewarm beginning when it began operations in India, its original show - Inside Edge became a game changer for the player as the show went out to become one of the most successful property for the platform. The OTT player marked the new year by announcing its new scripted thriller show, Breathe which has the quality of cinematic television. With the availability in over 200 countries, the show will be available in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

In order to expand its reach, Amazon Video recently tied up with Indian telecom operator Bharti Airtel to offer one year of free subscription. Amazon Prime India director and head Akshay Sahi opines that the move enables seamless access to Amazon Prime for Airtel postpaid customers, providing a world of new video streaming content and more.

But the player faces stiff competition from global giant Netflix that also entered the Indian market in January 2016. Netflix in India comes with three different subscription plans – basic, standard and premium where the basic subscription plan starts as low as Rs 500. With data becoming cheap and smartphones become more accessible to a large part of Indians, it will be interesting to see how the digital and OTT space shapes up and how players create content for consumers. 

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