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Amazon Prime Video to launch 10 Original shows in 2018

Most OTT platforms focus more on fiction shows and launch original series in quick succession, Amazon Prime Video India has been conservative in throwing Original programming too frequently. The platform announced its second Original series ‘Breathe’

As Amazon Prime Video India enters its second year in the Indian market, the over-the-top (OTT) platform has planned to launch as many as 10 Originals in 2018. These include unscripted shows like Remix which is nearing its release, Comicstan and two more shows where the titles are in the final stages.

At a later stage, more fiction shows will be launched, including the Zoya Akhtar show - Made in Heaven, Mirzapur, and 4 More Shots, which has just gone into production.

While most OTT platforms focus more on the fiction shows and launch original series as quick as within a month or two, Amazon Prime Video India has been conservative in throwing Original programming on its platforms too frequently.

“Right now, we are going to have a mix of unscripted and fiction shows. Young customers like unscripted format and we are completely focused on customer choices. We have a pretty significant pipeline of content. These will be made available in Indian regional languages too. Also, since we are just starting off in the unscripted genre and are announcing four shows in one go, it is looking a lot. These are still early days and we are still learning. Soon, we will know what the right mix is,” said Vijay Subramaniam, Director, Content, Amazon Prime Video India.

Amidst all this, the channel has also doubled its subscription charges from Rs 499 a year to Rs 999 a year.

Comedy as a genre has worked quite well for the company. Its stint with the Amazon Specials, wherein the stand-up comedians had their own space to perform, was quite popular among the millennials. After stand-up comedy, the platform also launched exclusive fiction shows with these artists. Subramaniam said, “Comedy is something that has taken off well for us. We are happy that we have given comedy a voice on the OTT platform and as a result we have doubled on it. We have gone after it because customers have given us a resounding vote. We have realised that people love to laugh.”

Speaking more about the exclusive series, he added, “While working with the comedians, we realised that they are great storytellers and then they went on to build their own series like Pushpavalli, Shaitan Haveli, Lakhon Mein Ek, Going Viral with Anubhav. This leads to customer enjoyment and engagement.”

While comedy is incredibly popular on the service, its marketing takes a very different stance than Inside Edge or Breathe. So all the marketing, development, creative, execution, production, delivery of shows is different and is centredaround the goal that customer choices are crucial for the company. Subramaniam gave a teaser of sorts on his future plans about the genre, “We are going to make a big announcement on comedy.”

The OTT platform has announced the launch of a new series Breathe, which will start on January 26. This is the second Originals from Amazon Prime Video India and will be offered in three languages – Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, across 200 countries and territories worldwide. While speaking about the first Original series, Subramaniam said, “When we launched Inside Edge, it was slowly expanded to other languages (Tamil and Telugu) and was taken to other markets as well. Because service readiness was an issue then and we were only six months old then. We are adapting much faster.”

While Comedy and Originals are only to go ahead from where it has reached, regional languages and dubbing is another important aspect of the OTT player’s strategy. On one side, when its biggest rival Netflix is sporting the international content up and proud, Amazon Prime Video has more to offer in the language closer to the audience.

“Besides Tamil and Telugu, we also have Bengali and Marathi films on our service. It’s more about the affinity. People in Bengali and Marathi are fungible between their local language and Hindi. Down South, there is a huge opportunity to serve too much larger chunk of audience. We will soon be increasing the number of regional language offerings.”

The service has content for everybody – teens, adults and kids. There is a separate service for kids within Amazon Prime Video. On the originals side, the content has broad appeal to both young adults and adults.

“Customers like variety. The more variety we offer, the more personalised they find it. Convenience is the key and by convenience, I mean it is about when you want to watch a show, other than your siblings, family, spouses and others.”

The platform offers a lot of content that is acquired from licensing deals and the Originals are about owning the piece of content. “It’s a dynamic process of content. Licensing and producing are two levers which will always be there. One which allows us to program efficiently and effectively and the other that allows us to tell stories that exist in a marketplace,” said Subramaniam.

Amazon Prime Video’s second series Breathe is produced by Abundantia Entertainment. Directed by Mayank Sharma, it is an eight-episode gritty, psychological thriller that explores the lives of ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances.

The new show:

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