The battle between US-based streaming platforms Netflix and Amazon for the Indian market is intensifying with both companies setting aside Rs 2,000 crore to acquire content and subscribers, according to a report in Livemint.
Both the platforms are investing aggressively and have ambitious programming budgets, according to the report. The online channels are also planning for more original content.
Netflix, in a statement to Livemint, said: “On the originals front, we are focused on finding great Indian stories—not just for Indians, but for the world. Sacred Games is our first announced Indian original series, and partnering with a top studio like Phantom Films speaks of the kind of quality we are looking at,” Netflix said in a statement.
Since its launch in December, Amazon Prime has taken an edge over Netflix already. Amazon currently has 9.5 million active subscribers. Netflix, which was launched almost a year ago, has about 4.2 million subscribers.
For Amazon, its low pricing offer worked well. It offers unlimited, ad-free streaming for an annual subscription fee of Rs 499. On the other hand, Netflix charges Rs 500 for a single month.
The number of internet users are expected to touch 450-465 million by June, a 4-8 percent jump from 432 million in December 2016, said a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India and market research firm IMRB International.
The report also said that 77 percent of urban and 92 percent of rural users use mobile as the primary device for internet.
Hyunwoo Thomas Kim, President and Chief Executive of Kross Pictures told Mint that both platforms are emphasizing on quality storytelling to attract more subscribers.
Kross Pictures is a TV and film production company in South Korea. Kim has recently signed a deal with Amazon for a Hindi series, which will be directed by Sujoy Ghosh. Kim’s company is also planning a Korean series with Netflix.
Netflix, since coming to India, has inked deals with Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures. Their movies will be streamed on the platform in April-June quarter. Viacom18 will be bringing some of its exclusives like Rangoon and Margarita with a Straw on Netflix soon.
Not to be left behind, Amazon Prime has inked deals with Yash Raj Films, Dharma Productions, T-Series, Dream Warrior Pictures, Everest Entertainment, Shree Venkatesh Films and V Creations.
Amazon has access to more than 50 films. In December last year, it had also announced 18 original shows for India with themes ranging from mythological to comedy.
It is not hard to see why India is a big focus for both the platforms. It is the only major market in the world where internet users are growing by leaps and bounds.
In a related development, Neil Hunt – one of the chief architects of Netflix Inc’s streaming service – has quit the company after 18 years. He will be replaced by Greg Peters, who works with telecom providers and consumer electronics makers around the world.