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India's content ecosystem will drive growth of video streaming in the country: Gaurav Gandhi

He said video streaming has captured the imagination of Indian viewers by giving them convenience, choice and variety of content

Gaurav Gandhi

The content ecosystem in India is creating world-class content and this will drive the growth of video streaming in the country, said Gaurav Gandhi, Country Head, Amazon Prime Video India, at a conversation at APOS India 2021, created by Media Partners Asia (MPA).

Gandhi said that the video streaming segment has seen very strong growth, powered by “some fundamental changes in the wider eco-system”.

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“First is the young demographic that makes for a large viewer base hungry for on-demand content. The second is that India is largely a single television market, and the ubiquitous smartphone in everyone’s hand is their personal television. The third, and a significant factor, is the rich and robust content ecosystem, with content industries in over 10 languages, making India a prolific entertainment market,” he said.

He added, “In the last three or four years, streaming services have brought a new wave of high-quality, world-class content including original long-format series, that India had not seen before – this is not just global content but also local, home-grown stories. Streaming services also played another role - India has a large audience base that loves movies, but the country is very under-screened, thus, there is limited access a new movie in the very early window (theatres). Video streaming has enhanced the reach and accessibility of films.”

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He said that the past two years have aggravated the adoption of digital technology across sectors, and said that the Covid-19 induced lockdown also led to increased reliance of people on OTT platforms. Gandhi said that the increased adoption of digital payment by the people has also contributed immensely to the growth of video streaming.

When asked about what makes India as one of the highest engaged locales for Prime Video service in the world, he spoke about programing for the diverse Indian viewers.

“India is supremely heterogeneous, not just in terms of language, age segments, content appeal and affordability. Indian customers are excited about new, fresh and differentiated content that we have been programming to appeal to these segments - which is reflected in the exponential growth of Prime Video with its viewership from 99% of pin codes in the country. Our viewing hours have grown 3X in the last 2 years. This growth is primarily driven by three trends, One: Growing appetite for binge-worthy originals with authentic stories, broader appeal stories like Mirzapur or The Family Man, or segment targeted stories like Bandish Bandits. Second: Early window digital premieres, soon after theatrical releases and close to 50 movies that released direct to service on Prime Video in the last year and a half. Third: Ease of access of wide variety of high-quality content is helping break language barriers. Viewers are watching content across languages today. Today, 50% of the viewership for Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada DTS films on our platform comes from outside the home state. Similarly, international language content such as Parasite last year or Maradona: The Blessed Dream, this year, is being viewed widely.” 

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