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Amazon Prime partners 8 OTT channels to create video-on-demand hub

Amazon’s OTT platform, Prime Video, has taken the first step to creating a marketplace for subscription video entertainment in the country by tying up with eight global and Indian premium content providers to offer more choice to its customers.

Customers of Amazon Prime will now get a seamless, friction-free, single- billing facility while choosing from a wide range of OTT channels, which they can subscribe to both on mobile and television through the Prime platform.

The OTT platforms which will be available from 24 September on the Prime super app are Discovery +, Lionsgate Play, Docubay (factual entertainment) as well as Eros Now, Hoichoi, Manorama Max, Mubi and Short TV. Together, these will offer over 10,000 titles to Prime subscribers, apart from what they already get from Amazon’s own stable.

Speaking at the launch, Gaurav Gandhi, country manager of Amazon Prime India, said: “We will be the 12th country in the world where this service is being launched. We have tie-ups with over 350 channels across the globe and we will be adding more channels in the next weeks and months in India. We realised that while our customers get Amazon Prime, they see other OTT services. What we are offering is they can do it now on the Amazon Platform itself.”

A similar service is already available in the US, UK, Japan, Brazil, Canada and Spain, amongst others. India will be the second market in Asia after Japan where the service is being launched.

Gandhi says Amazon will be a distributer for the channels and manage the back-end. The aim, he says, is to help these platforms expand their subscription customer base. ( India has about 80 million customers with an OTT subscription).

Gandhi reveals that Amazon Prime is already seen in 99 per cent of the pin codes in the country and in over 4,400 cities, giving huge reach and access to its OTT partners. Incidentally, the viewing time of Prime customers have gone up 3x during the pandemic.

According to Media Partners, Asia Amazon had a 19 per cent share of the subscription video-on-demand revenue in 2020, which was pegged at $504 million. The share of Netflix and Disney+Hotstar were 38 per cent and 21 per cent respectively. The move by Amazon may help raise the overall share of subscription revenues in the total revenues in the industry.

The company declined to give any figures.

According to a BofA analyst report, retention, as measured by the ratio of daily active users (around 5 million) to monthly active users, in the OTT space is 17 per cent for Amazon Prime against 22 per cent for Netflix for the month of August.

Gandhi says that their model is different from that of telecom players, where OTT channels are bundled with data, even though customers may not want to see all the channels offered. Also, it is cumbersome for the customer to move from one app to another.

However, the customer base that can be tapped in the case of mobile is much higher (Reliance Jio’s customer base is 400-million plus) compared to what subscription video-on-demand offers. Gandhi says that the channels will be giving a promotional offer to subscribe to them.

Like Netflix, Amazon Prime has also been experimenting with different price points to expand its viewership. Hence, apart from the Rs 999 annual subscription, it also offers a monthly rate (all of them come with Prime Music and free shipping for e-commerce) at Rs 129. It is also experimenting with a Rs 89 per month mobile-only offering with Airtel, which is bundled with some data.

Netflix offers its only mobile subscription for Rs 199 per month, which accounts for 50 per cent of its customers, according to estimates. Business Standard

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