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‘Amazon Prime is scaling up content in Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali’

Amazon Prime Video India is all geared to launch its first Indian original series – ‘Inside Edge’. Amazon Prime has tied up with Excel Media & Entertainment for the series, which stars Bollywood actors like Vivek Oberoi, Richa Chadha and Angad Bedi. ‘Inside Edge’ will be available from July 10, 2017 on Amazon Prime Video and will launch in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. Created by Karan Anshuman, ‘Inside Edge’ is a 10-episode series that combines the worlds of cricket and entertainment. 

Speaking on the launch of ‘Inside Edge’, Nitesh Kripalani, Director and Country Head, Amazon Video India, said, “Our first Original, ‘Inside Edge’, is a landmark moment for Amazon Prime Video in India as we begin our journey of creating original shows. Our goal is to change the way Indian customers consume premium entertainment in India; and to change the way content creators create content for Indian and worldwide customers. For Amazon, this series will be the beginning of new, bold original content in India, made with leading Indian content creators, talent and writers.” 

Farhan Akhtar of Excel Media & Entertainment, added here, “We are happy to collaborate with Amazon Prime Video to bring to life content that is not confined. ‘Inside Edge’ marks a great step in an endeavour that we feel will revolutionise the entertainment industry. The scale at which ‘Inside Edge’ is produced is tremendous and something India has not seen before.” 

‘Inside Edge’ is a pacy tale that captures the world of cricket and entertainment as we know it… and as we don’t. The series follows the twists and turns in the lives of powerful characters as they reveal the game behind the game. Set within a season of the Powerplay League, a cricketing event, the central characters are the Mumbai Mavericks team, their complex stories, their challenges and triumphs, their sub-plots and a vortex of manipulation, love, ambition, voyeurism, deceit, greed, lust and betrayal. 

In conversation with Adgully, Nitesh Kripalani speaks about Amazon Prime Video’s performance in India, ‘Inside Edge’, more Original series in Pipeline, marketing and content strategy and more. Excerpts: 

Nitesh Kripalani
Nitesh Kripalani

How has the performance of Amazon Prime Video been in India in terms of ad revenues and subscriber base? 
Amazon Prime is a subscription-based service, we don’t have any advertising revenues. Customers sign up for a feature and then convert to pay for Prime at the annual price of Rs 499. Amazon Prime is growing beyond our expectations in India and we look forward to an exponential Month-On-Month growth. It is rewarding to see that our customer base has increased rapidly and almost doubled within 5-6 months since of launch. 

How has the low subscription price model worked for Amazon Prime?
I think it’s the right value for customers, because one has to think not only about the pricing of the product but also the data charges, which is a concern in India. What drives in content serves content. If you get the content right and give the customers what they want, they will stay with you. 

What is the content strategy for Amazon Prime?
The content on Amazon Prime is very diverse and multilingual as we have movies, features, kids’ content and documentaries in our library. Indian movies in Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali and Telugu languages are really working well for our consumers. US television shows which customers were pirating until now are available to them at a very low premium price and consumers are happy to pay that amount. 

How are you scaling up your regional content?
We are in the process of discussing deals with a lot of content producers for content in Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Bengali. We have signed up and launched a few Telugu movies and will be launching some Bengali movies soon. From the local content point of view, Amazon Prime has announced its new series called ‘18’ and there are a few others in the pipeline which will be available soon. 

Has Amazon Prime been able to redefine prime time?
The good news is that a lot of consumers today engage with the latest content, which may or may not be on television, and so we are definitely seeing a shift in the consumption pattern of customers, who are enjoying the service on their phone or tablet. 

What is the online strategy for Amazon Prime?
Our goal is to focus on our customers and we want them to be our No. 1 priority. We constantly look and evaluate the selection we offer, the liabilities of our services, the convenience of access and the value it offers to our customers. 

Apart from ‘Inside Edge’, what are the other Indian original series in the pipeline?
There are no core numbers per se. There are different projects in different stages of development, casting, production or post production. We aspire to create 3-4 originals after ‘Inside Edge’.

What is the marketing strategy for ‘Inside Edge’?
We have an extensive campaign lined up not just in terms of TVCs and print ads, but also have a lot of interesting digital innovations that the team has put together. The objective is to launch ‘Inside Edge’ like a movie, because we have a star cast comprising  Bollywood stars working in the series and it has a cinema feel and quality to it. 

Have you tied up with Excel Media Entertainment for any more shows?
Yes, we are working on two more shows that will go on the floor in August, the first is ‘Mirzapur’ and the other is ‘Made In Heaven’.

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