Amazon Prime Video today announced the trailer launch of its first Indian Original releasing in 2020 – the highly anticipated Amazon Original Series The Forgotten Army- Azaadi Ke Liye. Created and Directed by the national award winning filmmaker, Kabir Khan, the war epic is based on true events and narrates the journey of the extraordinary young brave men and women who formed a part of the Indian National Army (INA) and fought against the British for India’s Independence.
MediaNews4u spoke to Vijay Subramaniam, Director and Head Content, Amazon Prime Video India at the launch event on the year gone by and their plans for 2020.
This idea/concept has been Kabir’s dream for 20 years, 3 years ago you announced this project. What made Amazon Prime to invest in this project?
On the onset I want to tell you that we have never shied away from investing in good compelling stories, stories our customers would love to see, stories that show fresh voice, stories told with conviction. We make sure that we are staying true to our conviction because it is evolutionary and it is entertainment. We have had a great run in 2019 and are delighted to open the New Year with one of our biggest shows till date. The Forgotten Army – Azaadi Ke Liye, is a story close to our hearts and one that Kabir has wanted to make for over 20 years.
The project took 3 years to complete, were you open to this idea from the start?
We are in the entertainment media space and we recognise that space. It’s not that all our projects will take so long, this was a Period drama and it required lot of research and shooting outside India. We are open to various timelines depending on the subject. As long as it is meaningful and represents the taste of our customers we are satisfied. We recognise that and it is reflecting in everything we do across content. If you look at our standup comedy series, you have a Zakir who takes a longer time to deliver, but in the meantime there are enough upcoming talent to keep our customers entertained, same thing with cinema, it is a complete mix. It has to be meaningful to the customer and at the same time balancing out the creative ecosystem.
2019 was a great year for you, how has the growth been?
We are very happy with where we are, for us India as a market place is very strategic and the building blocks are for all to see. Last year was particularly important as it keyed up for the next 3 years, this was also a year where we saw a lot of expansion, and we launched 4 regional languages, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi and Gujarati. We saw a ramp up in our slate of originals and we added more to our comedy spread and we also introduced new formats. With our movie selection comprising 3 blockbusters in the beginning of the year, the consumer expectations are raising and we need to match up to that and serve to our consumer the best.
On the regional front, we ramped up our offerings in Tamil and Telugu very rapidly, Malayalam and Kannada have also seen a huge response. We launched the biggest blockbuster movies in both languages. Punjabi has also seen a huge response. Last year we announced that we will be launching Tamil Originals and it will hit the screens in the next 5-6 months.
Way forward in 2020?
Primarily we want to serve our consumers being able to continue to go deeper in the languages that we already are in and provide the latest and the greatest to them.
We are very happy with where we are today. But we also recognise customers creativity and expectation, and we need to meet that and, and that’s what we’re working toward. So, we’re in nine languages, prioritizing some of these bringing to the benchmark level and further strengthening it are on the cards.
Similarly looking at more opportunities. There is more happening on Comedy as well, we have added a couple more coming into the filter. In terms of young adults who want to see more experimentation bias in understanding the kind of content they care about. So you’re going to see a lot of that.
Overall, we offer the customers to experience everything, right from shopping to music to movies to live streaming on OTT. A constant wheel that we keep turning because it’s so important to provide the customer with the best possible experience as they become more and more comfortable with prime video as the preferred choice and technology.
We believe that the customer is the most important link in the overall Prime membership experience and be more discerning to continue to strive to deliver great time, value, free shipping, shopping and we want to do that so our customers get all these benefits and hopefully make Prime part of their everyday life.
Vision remains what it was to transform the way customers consume and continue to enable them.