iWorld

Where Mike Hopkins is taking Amazon Prime Video

The biggest growth potential lies in the international markets, he said at APOS 2020.

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Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Studios SVP Mike Hopkins is a 30-year vet old in streaming veteran, having overseen the developed of products such as  BTN2GO and Fox Now as head of Fox distribution and later led Hulu on a rapid growth path as its CEO. He spent a short stint at Sony Pictures Television Networks as its chairman before being lured away by Jeff Bezos to lead Prime Video just before the pandemic hit the world.

Hopkins is quite charged up about the opportunity that lies ahead with Prime Video. Speaking at APOS he said that Amazon has 150 million plus Prime members globally and Prime Video is a key driver of the service.

Hopkins expressed that growth for Prime Video lies primarily in international territories. “Before I arrived the company had made some really smart investments in serving customers around the world,” he said. “And we intend to double down on that investment over the next couple of years. We will continue to invest in local and global content and that is very critical,”

Most of the investments are going towards creating originals in 15 of the 200 markets Prime Video is available outside the US. “People in many countries have an affinity to US content,” Hopkins added. “But increasingly customers also want to see stories about them their culture and issues written and produced by people in their countries and played out by actors who look like and speak like them. Our teams have been building a home for talent and attracting the top creators all over the world.”

The content acquisition teams, Hopkins revealed are also  making smart bets and doubling down on investments in acquiring SVOD content and TVOD catalogues. This apart, Hopkins, stated that Amazon’ sports team has also been inventing and reinventing spots, taking bets in properties and that is going to increase going forward.

Hopkins went on to add that the second big opportunity for Amazon Prime Video lies in improving customer experience. “We have probably the most complicated business model of the SVoD players, so that makes the customer experience more important for us,” he expressed.

He revealed that members can look forward to improvements in how they can navigate and use the service over the next year or two. “Customers can rent and buy movies and TV shows and they can also subscribe to  TV channels in many markets,” he highlighted. “Making it easier for them to understand what’s what and how they can get to the content is important and we will prioritise this along with content investments.”

He explained that he sees Prime Video offering a variety of content to its users, right from the SVOD content to TVOD to channels. “We want to offer them a one-stop-shop for their entertainment needs and (adding) channels is going to be a major focus for us.”

Hopkins stated the pandemic has not impacted its pipeline of content going forward. “We have about 40 shows in various stages of production,” he said. “We have a very deep library, we have licensed content. We have a lot of originals. We are going to launch the second season of The Voice and several other shows. But what we will see is a slowdown in terms of premieres in the first half of next year. The thinning of these shows will be more than made up by the TVOD content in movies and the channels members can subscribe to.”

He pointed out that Amazon Prime Video had gone in early into India as an SVOD service  and the way forward is becoming be super aggressive in the market from an originals. “We will have more than a dozen originals in each of the markets we are investing in by next year or so” he revealed. “And India is one of our priority markets.”

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