Amazon launched Prime Video Channels in India. Prime Video Channels will provide Prime members a seamless experience and access to a distinctive slate of content from a diverse set of popular video streaming services. Addressing customers’ need for a hassle-free entertainment experience, simplified discovery, and frictionless payments, Prime Video Channels, acting as an intermediary, will allow Prime members the option for add-on subscriptions of popular OTT services and stream their content on the Amazon Prime Video app and website in India. The launch of Prime Video Channels will mark yet another step towards making Amazon Prime Video the preferred entertainment destination for customers in India.
Prime Video Channels will give Prime members the option to watch global and local binge-worthy content including thousands of shows, movies, reality TV, documentaries, etc., from eight video-streaming services including discovery+, Lionsgate Play, Docubay, Eros Now, MUBI, hoichoi, Manorama Max, and Shorts TV – each accessible with respective add-on subscriptions.
Chaitanya Divan, Head Prime Video Channels, Amazon Prime Video in conversation with Medianews4U talks about the new launch and much more…
Why is Amazon Prime Video Channels being launched in India?
Let me just start off very briefly with what Prime Video Channels is, it is essentially a video entertainment marketplace where we are bringing premium content from multiple partners, under one roof. From a customer’s point of view, it provides enhanced convenience of having all the content in one place with easy subscription and account management.
But to specifically answer your question, Prime Video Channels launched in the US about five years ago. It is in these intervening years that it expanded quite rapidly. It is currently available in 11 countries across the world and we are now introducing it in India.
We have seen the model become a success globally. I believe there are three reasons for that. One, looking at it from a customer point of view, we are really in this golden age of content today with access to movies, the latest TV shows, original content. However, with this huge explosion in choices, managing accounts, different subscriptions, and keeping track of user names is very frustrating for customers. For example, if you’ve identified a movie you want to watch, and then you go into these different applications to figure out, where is this movie available. After that you need to subscribe and add your credit card details. Then you watch the movie and realize that this service is available only on one device, or you have forgotten your password. Customers face a lot of issues like this with the overall experience of managing multiple subscriptions.
Prime Video Channels specifically addresses this need gap. The idea is that we will bring their entire favorite content in one place, make it very convenient for them to discover new content, to subscribe to streaming services, and make payment friction-free. In addition to that, there are these multiple benefits associated with Amazon Prime Video already. These are part of the much-loved service that our customers are already enjoying – such as IMDB’s x-ray, downloads, watch list, and so on. All these features are automatically available to Prime members when they stream content from any of the Channel Partners. So, the idea of unifying this video viewing experience is why we brought Prime Video Channels to India.
Amazon Prime Video Channels have been in existence in the US and other countries, what made you launch it in India now? Wouldn’t 2020 have been a better option?
OTT has been growing by leaps and bounds, especially the last couple of years. It has been very heartening to see this tremendous growth. Overall viewing (in terms of hours watched) on Prime Video has grown 3x in the last two years.
However, we still believe that it is fairly early in the lifecycle of streaming video. And the macro environment is very supportive, be it broadband penetration, mobile phone/smartphone penetration, cheap data. In addition to that, this explosion of choice is causing frustration among customers because of managing so many accounts. This is why we believe this is the right time for us to come in with a solution. We feel that it will only grow from here.
Also, it will be a force for transformation in the industry. Today, there are a plethora of players in the industry in India, and it is extremely fragmented. This is the right time to drive collaboration in the industry so that the consumers have a superior experience with Prime Video Channels.
Today with data being cheap, with Jio entering the market, fiber and broadband availability, how has Amazon Prime Video been able to reach Tier 3 and 4 markets?
Amazon Prime Video has actually grown across the length and breadth of the country. Today, Prime Video gets viewership from 99% of India’s pin codes, across 4,400 cities and towns. This wide and deep penetration and consumption of Prime Video is one of the most attractive factors for our streaming partners. So, one factor is the geographical reach, another factor is the range of devices that become accessible to these OTT services. Prime Video’s ubiquitous presence across devices will take our Channel partners right into the customers’ homes and handheld devices.
You have eight platforms on board now, how aggressively will you be getting new platforms onboard?
Today is Day 1, and we are launching with eight Channel partners: discovery+, Lionsgate Play, Eros Now, DocuBay, MUBI, hoichoi, manoramaMAX, and ShortsTV.These eight partners bring close to 10,000 titles spanning genres and languages. We are very excited about bringing this new and extensive content slate to our customers.
Further, if we look at how Channels is doing globally, we are present in 11 countries with 350 streaming partners in all markets. Taking this evolution forward, we expect to continue to add more partners to Channels in India as we expand the service.
So how different are you from other players who would be offering similar services like Tata Sky Binge?
The key differentiator with Prime Video Channels is that we offer our customers the choice to stream their favorite content from their preferred streaming platforms. So, it is not some pre-decided bundle. As the choice rests with the customers, they only have to pay for the streaming service that they are interested in.
The second thing is that because of Prime Video, our partners are available to our customers across devices, be it our apps, living room devices, personal computers, or smartphones – the list is huge. On day one of launch, all these partner services are available across all devices and screens where Prime Video is available. So, essentially, we are delivering greater convenience than is currently available to customers.
How cost-effective are Prime Video Channels for an existing subscriber?
Our endeavor is to offer our customers the choice. Each of these services is available through an add-on subscription. So, that’s the first part of a value, which you choose only what you want to watch and only pay for those services. We have launched with annual plans. Our partners, in fact, are offering specials annual subscription offers introductory offers which will be available to all our customers starting tomorrow. The idea is that over time as we learn more about customers’ preferences we will launch different types of packs. It could be monthly, it could be bundled, we will go down and offer customers what they want.
So, tell me, I already have an Amazon Prime membership. Now if I just want to add Lionsgate and Monorama Max, how do I do this?
So, once you navigate to the Prime Video app, you can go to the pages where those two services you mentioned are available. With just a few clicks, pay and start your subscription. Then all of that content comes in your Prime Video app itself. You don’t have to then navigate out to multiple different apps. Your Watch List is unified. So, if you want to watch something from Prime Video, and you want to watch something from a Manorama Max, you can keep adding to a single watch list. Further, all of those conveniences that the customers lovelikeIMDb’s X-ray, will be available to subscribers of these channels as well.
How will the Channels partner benefit from it?
This is a win-win relationship for everyone. The key benefits for the streaming partners are one, just the unparalleled reach that Amazon Prime Video brings for our partners.
The second benefit is the unique strengths Amazon brings in terms of our technology and our streaming infrastructure. So, all of that is made available to our partners.
The third benefit is that Amazon has established expertise in things like customer service and customer management, account management, and billing. All of those are handled completely by Amazon Prime Video.
So, these are all the benefits that our partners get. And what that does is from a partner point of view, it frees them up to focus on what they do best, which is creating fantastic content. They understand their customers, they create great content and leave almost everything else to us as the distributor manages
How are you planning to market Prime Video Channels?
The good part is, this is meant for Prime members and Prime members are highly engaged already with Prime Video and with other Amazon destinations. So, we already have these customers coming in regularly. And we will use this opportunity to communicate the brand-new Channels and the partner content. There will be a regular marketing campaign outside of Prime Video as well, also on social media. However, the focus currently is on Prime members as they are already on board.