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Why Ajit Mohan allowed Amazon Prime to advertise on Hotstar

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MUMBAI: Hotstar subscribers were a little taken aback when they logged into their accounts to see Amazon Prime being promoted on the masthead during its launch week.

Some media observers even questioned whether Novi Digital (which runs Hotstar) CEO Ajit Mohan had lost it as he was allowing competitors to use India’s leading OTT/VOD platform to gain traction. Would the Times of India allow a fit and hungry rival to advertise its launch in the newspaper?

However, Ajit Mohan explained in an internal email to his team why he chose to allow Amazon Prime to advertise on it.

Indiantelevision.com has got access to this internal communication. Says Ajit in the email:

“Team:

Many of you have asked me over the last couple of days why we chose to allow Amazon Prime Video to advertise on Hotstar earlier this week, as part of their India launch. Here is why:

We are now an indispensable platform for any advertiser that is looking to target users on digital who actually have money to spend. And, nowhere else on digital, whether on social or on news or video, can they find audiences as engaged as they are on Hotstar. It is, therefore, not surprising that Prime Video was keen to launch their service on our platform.

Equally, we have always assumed that when users are given a choice, they will choose a service that offers a better experience and a more diverse content range. That’s the reason why we are the leading premium video service today. And we will continue to be the leader so long as we focus on retaining our extensive advantage on the above two. And, therefore, there is no reason for us to put artificial barriers vis-à-vis potential competitors. We are not planning to win by blocking others, we will win by continuing to do what we are doing well today.

Lastly, on Monday, the day Prime Video was on our masthead, we hit the highest watch time ever on Hotstar. Looks like we are adding value to our advertisers even as consumers are showing more and more loyalty to our service.”

We reached out to Hotstar to get more details on how much Amazon Prime paid for the prime position but came up against a wall. However, observers estimate that it is probably the highest that it has earned for that slot. Stay tuned in for more!

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