Amazon Prime Video's investments are reflective of long-term goals: Vijay Subramaniam

The platform’s latest original series The Family Man is set to release on 20 September


MUMBAI: Amazon Prime Video has considered India as one of its key markets since it commenced its journey in the country almost three years ago. Initially, with less original content and more movies, it was usually conceived among consumers as a go-to place for movie buffs. As it went forward in the journey, the platform scaled up its number of originals with buzz-creating shows like Mirzapur, Made in Heaven. But when the platform evolved, the competition in the over-the-top ecosystem of the industry also intensified. However, Amazon Prime Video India content director and head Vijay Subramaniam thinks the platforms should look at the opportunity in a holistic manner rather than perceiving it as a battle against one another.

“We are welcoming all forms of competition because it only sharpens the creativity and that’s a great place for everyone to tell us better stories. I think it’s important to look at the opportunity in a holistic manner than believe it’s a trading of one versus another,” Subramaniam said while speaking to Indiantelevision.com alongside the launch of its highly anticipated series The Family Man.

The edgy drama-thriller series is set to release on 20 September which tells the story of a middle-class man who works for a special cell of the National Intelligence Agency. While he tries to protect the nation from terrorists, he also has to protect his family from the impact of his secretive service. The show has been produced by Raj Nidimoru & Krishna DK.

Subramaniam said The Family Man has a broad and wide appeal of the show like the name suggests. On a confident note, he shared that there is some attractive element for everyone in the show across ages and genders. He pointed out that there is a family man which is very relatable in the context of the middle class while there is also a touch of great humour which again is very appealing. Moreover, the thriller aspect of the show also makes it more appealing to a broad segment of the audience.

This year Amazon Prime Video India has launched a number of shows in different genres. Subramaniam noted the platform’s goal is to try and provide a wide range and variety of content. He also added that they are aware of the need of shows that can cross segments, even though at times they make a very conscious decision to keep a show well-defined to a particular segment only. But he also noted that despite defining a show to a segment, if it is made authentically it can cross over all the segments. He gave an example of Four More Shots Please where they were very clear that the show is going to tell a story all about women’s perspective of friendship but men also loved the show.

“Every marketing campaign of ours is determined by the show and the audience that we are seeking to familiarise with. So, Family Man is no different. It’s a very important show for us. So, we will do a lot of interesting things. We are in all conventional mediums but most importantly we will do a lot of work digitally because it’s a natural extension of our digital medium and social conversations are massive. We even put out a music video, we created a song which got traction pretty quickly,” he commented on the marketing of the show.

Having hosted different genres of shows, Subramaniam emphasises on the variety of the content. While there are days consumers would prefer a light comedy after a heavy day at work and there are days when they would prefer binge-watching a character drama like Mirzapur.

“I think, given the diversity of the country, we are  culturally different and so, variety will always be a prime factor. It’s very early in the long-form content journey for anyone to put a finger and say this is the one genre that everybody wants. I think we will experiment and evolve, that’s how entertainment has evolved overall,” he added.

“I think it is important for us to remain focused on making Amazon Prime Video a preferred choice for all entertainment. That’s the goal. Now, while we are building our originals, we have a lot more coming out in the next couple of months. It is also important to remember we love our films. Indian customers always enjoy the concept of cinema,” he added further.

He also gave an example of various regional markets like Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada which have a thriving film industry because Indians are avid consumers of films. According to him, it’s important to make sure whatever the platform is offering is a fair representation of the taste and preferences of what consumers would like to watch.

While the platform’s goal was to scale up the number of original shows from five to nine, it is looking at further scaling it up. The aim is to get to about between ten and twelve in 2020. Learning customer preference will also help fine-tune the content strategy in long run.

International rival Netflix is also investing more in local content while Hotstar has forayed into original content space this year. Local OTT players are also going deep into regional markets to catch more consumers. Moreover, Apple is also making its entry with a monthly subscription of Rs 99.

Subramaniam, however, does not look at it as a challenge. While the platform’s effort has always been to understand consumer preferences, deliver those expectations and over time, constantly deliver value, he added that the service, customer experience, content and other bouquet of services will help the platform to grow.

“It is also important to recognise it's a big country and there is a lot of room to grow. We have 500 odd television channels. So, people are hungry for entertainment. There is an opportunity to be the centre of that and that’s what we are doing. We are welcoming all forms of competition because it only sharpens the creativity and that’s a great place for everyone to tell better stories,” he said.

“We are happy at the way we are growing. Our focus is long-term. It’s a very important market for us, we are super-excited about the opportunities we have. Our investments are reflective of where we want to get in long-term. We are genuinely happy with where we are but there is a long way to go,” he signed off. 

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