Amazon’s content plan as it readies Prime Video for India launch

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16 Jul 2013
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MUMBAI: Amazon will have Bollywood as an important part of its content strategy and is looking to add sports properties including the Indian Premier League (IPL) as it readies to launch its video streaming service in India soon.

Amazon is busy inking licensing deals with big Bollywood producers ahead of the India launch of its Prime Video service. On Monday, the Seattle-headquartered online retailer unveiled a long-term licensing deal with Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions.

Besides diving into the catalogue and upcoming titles of Dharma Productions, Amazon has started negotiations with Yash Raj Films (YRF) and Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt-owned Vishesh Films to obtain streaming rights for their content.

Amazon has also picked up the tender document for the IPL media rights, indicating that the online commerce giant could offer live sports content to gain market share in the crowded OTT space in India which has players like Hotstar (Star India), Sony Liv (Sony Pictures Networks), Ditto TV (ZEEL), Voot (Viacom18) and Netflix. Only Hotstar, Sony Liv and Ditto TV offer live sports content. Incidentally, ZEEL has agreed to sell Ten Sports to Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI).

As per the agreement with Dharma Productions, Amazon will have streaming rights to new releases such as ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, which has Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anushka Sharma in lead roles. Directed by Johar, the movie is set for release on 28 October.

The other digital premieres of Dharma releases on Prime Video include upcoming films like ‘Ok Jaanu’, starring Aditya Roy Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor; and ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’, starring Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt.

Amazon will have access to unlimited streaming of Dharma’s library films such as ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’, ‘Student of the Year’, ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ and ‘Agneepath’.

“We are excited to have Dharma Productions’ library and future slate of titles for the upcoming launch of Prime Video. We know our Prime members are going to love the broad selection of films and stories—everything from soulful romance to heartfelt and funny family stories—that Dharma does so well,” said Amazon Video India, director and country head, Nitesh Kripalani.

On the long-term agreement, Dharma Productions CEO Apoorva Mehta said, “We have kept a close eye on the explosion of digital media, and the increased consumption trends of Bollywood content on video-on-demand and OTT platforms. We at Dharma felt that the time couldn’t be more right for us to mark our presence on such sought-after platforms. We are confident that partnering with a credible brand like Amazon will go a long way in ensuring that our content will not only be seamlessly streamed, but will also see a huge demand from users of Prime Video.”

The Seattle-headquartered online retailer, which has launched its Amazon Prime subscription service in India, has committed to invest $5 billion to push its e-commerce business against home-grown rivals Flipkart and Snapdeal.

The company thinks that, bunched with e-commerce, its video-streaming entertainment service will have a good chance to succeed in India.

Amazon’s content plan as it readies Prime Video for India launch |
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