Overcoming Language Barriers, Amazon India Has 70 Projects in Development, Country Head Gaurav Gandhi Says

Amazon Prime Video has a whopping 70 originals in development in India, across languages and is doubling down on investments, said country head Gaurav Gandhi on Tuesday, speaking at the APOS India media conference.

“We’ve had lots of success in this [original content] space,” said Gandhi. “We’ve done a lot of work in Hindi, we are now expanding Tamil and Telugu originals. We have over 70 projects in development across various languages. And, this is literally day one for us in this space, because the opportunity here is so much.”

“What’s fascinating for us is that this appeal of Indian original series is not only just in India, but outside India. One in five customers, for these Indian originals come from outside of the country,” said Gandhi. “We are very encouraged by that, and we will double down on investments.”

Gandhi said that the streaming sector in India is witnessing a growth surge due to a number of factors – the young audience for whom their mobile phones, running cheap data, are their primary screens; a prolific content ecosystem with 12 industries in different languages resulting in a vibrant market; the dwindling number of cinema screens driving people towards streaming; and, during the pandemic, people beginning to trust digital paying methods and paying for content.

“Overall, in the first five years, we’ve seen significant growth and but there’s so much room to grow here,” said Gandhi.

The executive also said that the 50 or so films that the streamer has released over the last year and a half have found an audience far beyond the language they are made in. “The most interesting thing for us is that we’ve seen the language barrier being completely broken, so customers are actually coming in to watch content otherwise they wouldn’t got to watch elsewhere,” said Gandhi.

“Today 50% of our viewership for our language content — Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada — comes from outside their home states,” said Gandhi. “The fact is these movies will otherwise not be watched by the rest of India because they wouldn’t have been available. We are expanding selection so dramatically and high quality content is coming in from everywhere. Malayalam cinema for example today is mainstream across the country.”

Gandhi also said that it’s a misnomer that Indian consumers do not want to pay for content or are price conscious. Rather, they are value conscious, he said.

“The reality of all of this is ultimately we’re talking about customers’ wallets and customers’ time, and the fact is, if you already able to get customers to stay on and come back month after month, week after week, day after day, and pay you regularly, the fact is that you are catching their imagination,” said Gandhi. “So I feel very encouraged by what we’ve seen the last few years, and our growth and the industry’s growth overall.”

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