Amazon Prime Video unveils trailer of comedy talent hunt 'Comicstaan'

OTT players have given a much-needed boost to stand-up comedy scene in India


MUMBAI: International tech giant Amazon’s video streaming platform is putting a great deal of effort to gain a foothold in the Indian market. Since its launch, the company has focused on ramping up its original content, with comedy forming a key component of its growth strategy. With the trailer launch of Comicstaan, Amazon Prime Video has made another addition to the list.

The talent hunt series has been produced by Only Much Louder (OML) that has put out shows such as On Air with AIB and Comedy Hunt. To mentor as well as judge competitors, Tanmay Bhat, Kenny Sebastian, Sapan Verma, Naveen Richard, Kaneez Surkha, Kanan Gill and Biswa Kalyan Rath have been signed up by the platform.

The new Prime original series consisting of nine episodes will be available to members from July. The first four episodes will be released on the launch day, with others following suit on a weekly basis.  

Hailing comedy as an equally attractive category like cricket and Bollywood Amazon Prime Video India content head and director Vijay Subramanian said, “When we asked our customers what are things they would love to watch comedy was right up there. So, there were two things we could do. One, acquiring some of the best comedy movies in Hindi and other regional languages. Same time, we can actually create a new space with stand-up comedians.”

Amazon's competitors Netflix and Hotstar are also trying to tap into the comedy scene. ALTBalaji even launched stand-up comedy videos in regional languages.

“We will continue to acquire the best movies across various languages. We are going to ramp up on our Indian originals. In second half of this year we are going to launch three more. Next year we hope to have 10 originals. And you will continue to see some other biggest blockbuster films on our service.” Subramanian commented on Amazon Prime Video India’s plans for next year while speaking to Indiantelevision.com.

While there were speculations in the media that Amazon Prime Video was contemplating kick-starting its own production house, the spokesperson of the company did not offer any clarification. However, he said the company is right now focused on just getting good content by betting big on originals. The equation with partners like OML, Excel Entertainment, the production houses with which Amazon Prime Video partnered for Indian originals, are very good right now.

“Comicstaan is the exciting next step in our long and fruitful relationship with Amazon. It ties all the best parts of Indian stand-up together into something fresh. Getting the country's top comedians to nurture and mentor new talent is an idea that excited us, and it's been extremely rewarding to see it all come together," OML COO Ajay Nair said.

Recently Amazon has added a new prime subscription plan at RS 129 per month for Indian consumers. When Subramanian was asked about that, he emphasized on the flexible options for customers to choose the plan.

The company realises that being locally relevant is very important to survive in Indian market. Hence, their investments for regional expansion plans will continue. However, when it comes to Indian original shows the company will prioritize its Hindi library for now.

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