Year Ender: With Indian stories gaining global popularity in 2021, Prime Video to focus more on localised content and cricket in 2022

In the post-pandemic era, the opening of theatres and public gatherings is fraught with uncertainty. Hence, the OTT consumption that boomed during lockdown continued charting great heights. According to a report by RBSA Advisors, the Indian video OTT market is expected to hit $12.5 billion by 2030.

In the past few years, there has been a tectonic change in the way content is created, accessed and viewed. Video streaming services have democratised access to quality content and helped empower creators and talent. The OTT industry has emerged as a force of good, creating job opportunities and fuelling economic growth.

One of the major OTT players among the leading streaming platforms, Amazon Prime Video, continued offering stellar content and gaining grounds in the Indian market. As the OTT platform is about to usher in the New Year with awaited contents like Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts, Lady Of The Manor, Deepika Padukone’s Gehraiyaan and so on, Animation Xpress got in touch with them to know how they fared this year.

Amazon Prime Video spokesperson shared in an email interview, “For us at Prime Video, 2021 has been quite eventful. Our service’s viewing hours have grown 3X (three times) in the last two years, and we are seeing viewership from 99 per cent of India’s pin codes, a clear reflection of the fact that our diverse and rich content library caters to the ‘many India’s’ with content in nine plus local languages, and this has unlocked the potential of India’s many story-telling cultures. Over the year we launched 11 originals and 50 direct-to-service movies, curating the best of content across languages and genres.”

Amazon Prime Video witnessed the following trends gaining ground in 2021

The platform led the democratisation of content by offering viewers freedom, ease, and choice. The video streaming sector also acted as a seamless conduit between creators, talent, and the diverse set of consumers spread across the country and across the world.

Acceleration in the growth of the market:  With the utopia of many choices finally arriving – from two in 2012 to over 40 video streaming services in 2021, Indians are tuning in to their favourite streaming destination for their daily dose of entertainment – resulting in average hours spent consuming OTT content in India outpacing the global average. 

Video-streaming is now a country-wide phenomenon: Further growth is coming from tier two and three cities and towns, where OTT is fast becoming a preferred medium of entertainment. 

Breaking of linguistic and geographical barriers: This is because good stories are travelling further than ever before. OTT platforms led by Prime Video ‘initiated’ the idea of appreciating cross-regional or global content amongst masses and today, a viewer in Chandigarh is watching and appreciating a Malayalam movie. By employing tools such as subbing and dubbing they have broken the language barrier and saw almost 50 per cent of the audience for local language films come from outside the home state.

Indian content is travelling globally: It is enabling the platform to take stories from India – the real, quintessentially Indian stories – to a global stage. The quality of content has found resonance with customers across the globe, and they want to see more and more content from India’s lens. One in five viewers of Amazon Originals is from outside India. The same is true for their movie libraries – with Shershaah, Jai Bhim and many more being loved by consumers worldwide.

New launches

In their relentless pursuit to bring binge-worthy, authentic, local content to our customers, in August this year, Prime Video launched Prime Video Channels in India, taking their first step towards creating a Video Entertainment Marketplace in the country. PV Channels addressed customers’ need for a hassle-free entertainment experience, simplified discovery and frictionless payments, by allowing Prime members to add-on subscriptions of popular third-party OTT services and seamlessly stream all this content on the Amazon Prime Video app and website in India. The platform is extremely happy with early consumer reaction to the channel’s offering.

They also launched Prime Video Mobile Edition, their ‘Worldwide-First Mobile-Only Video Plan’ in India, in collaboration with Airtel, making high quality entertainment accessible to hundreds of millions of prepaid customers at attractive, affordable prices.

Plans for the upcoming year

Sharing the plans for the coming year, the spokesperson further said, “Original content really has been a key pillar of growth. In 2022, we will double down on that. We have built an incredible bouquet for Hindi content, and done a few features and Originals in Tamil. In the coming year, consumers will see a lot more local language marquee content in Tamil and Telugu.  

We also have a rich and diverse assortment of international content from the ambitious Lord of The Rings, returning seasons of our most loved originals like MMM, The Boys. We have found that international content travels very well with localisation, we will focus on that. We are incredibly excited to add India’s most loved game, Cricket to our content selection for our Prime Video customers, starting 1 January 2022.”

With such robust content, Amazon Prime Video is constantly aiming to increase their diversified audience base in India. The Indian OTT space has grown over the years as more players have been entering the market which has intensified the competition. Only time will tell us which business model or offers will actually work, but the industry is constantly growing, generating revenue and gaining a wider audience base globally.