“We are at a pivotal moment in the Indian entertainment landscape. I find the realms of possibilities lying ahead to be extremely exciting,” said Sushant Sreeram, Country Head, Prime Video India.
He was delivering a keynote address at the ongoing FICCI Frames 2023 on the topic ‘OTT: Powering India’s Storytelling and Creative Ecosystem’.
Recalling his childhood days, Sreeram said, “I remember growing up in my house which was a single TV household, where our family used to come together and watch movies and shows, make the customary trip to the movie theater to watch the latest movies. We have grown up watching a select set of movies. That’s a shared experience we all had. When you look at it now, even 10 years back, we were all skewed towards a slightly more defined, tight set of entertainment.”
He added that today we have the world’s entertainment options at our fingertips.
“We have access to stories around the globe. There is an incredible appetite and excitement for more content. When you think about the future of the storytelling economy, what I find incredibly exciting is that there is a common reason that drives all our decision making, which is a delightful country seeking diverse views and forms of entertainment,” he added.
Sreeram said that we are a land of storytellers, from mythological stories to more recent Bollywood blockbusters.
According to him, stories are a form of transferring values, ideas, thoughts, and culture and it is inherent in the Indian genes.
“What I feel has kickstarted and it is going to accelerate as we look forward is the opportunity for our storytellers across the country to find an audience. Thanks to the accessibility offered by OTT platforms. We have customers from everywhere who are streaming in our country. What that means is that for anyone who is a stakeholder in the storytelling economy, there is an audience out there waiting for your stories. Not just within the country, but internationally too,” he added.
The reach a storyteller has in the past was limited, he explained.
On Prime Video, he said, “We started in 2016 and it’s been a pretty easy journey. We’ve had a variety of shows across languages and genres. We have original shows that have been dubbed across languages. But when I look back at the last six years and ahead, it is incredibly evident to me that even though we have customers streaming across the country, the opportunities that lie ahead are much bigger.”
“The other thing is that when we talk about how to broaden the content selection and access for our customers, we realised that there were a lot of things we could do at Prime Video. Also, we have the opportunity to unlock meaningful partnerships,” he said.
He cited Prime Video channels launched a year and half ago as an example of that.
“We brought in a broader selection of entertainment shows, movies, documentaries etc. It’s been so incredible to see the customer reaction to it. It caters to the convenience of content consumption,” he said.
According to Sreeram, OTT platforms are not only helping in the reach of stories across the country but also outside.
“Close to 60pc of our original content viewership is based in four languages. We are multilingual. The entertainment choices previously used to be more limited because we didn’t have access to content in other languages. Another huge advantage brought by OTT platforms is broadening the linguistic palette of customers,” he said.
Taking the case of recent Kannada movie blockbuster Kantara , he said it was viewed by viewers in multiple languages.
“Farzi was launched in 35 different languages. A good story will find its audience and language cannot be a barrier, which is why we call it stories without borders. Prime Video premiers movies in 240 countries,” Sreeram said.
Prime Video will be doubling its investments in India in the next five years, revealed the speaker.