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Last Updated : Nov 29, 2019 05:08 PM IST | Source:

Can Amazon Prime Video's bet on comedy genre propel it past rivals?

Prime Video has around 40 stand-up comedy (Indian comics) specials on its platform.

Who would have thought politician Shashi Tharoor or actress Richa Chadda would take to the stage to try their hand at stand-up comedy?

But it has happened with Amazon Prime Video's new show called One Mic Stand.

The trailer alone saw as many as 9,501,678 views and the sneak peek of Shahshi Tharoor's set saw 263,035 views on YouTube.

Prime Video did not share numbers related to viewership for their stand-up shows. But a look at the subscriber base of comedy channels like Bhuvan Bam's BB KI Vines which has as many as 15.6 million subscribers on Youtube, Abish Mathew's Son of Abhish has around 947,000 subscribers on the video sharing platform shows the scope Prime has with comedy to up its game especially in terms of user base in India.
 Currently the leader on the scoreboard for monthly active users (MAUs) is Hotstar with 300 million MAUs. As for Prime Video and Netflix, they currently boasts of 13 million subscribers and 11 million MAUs respectively, according to reports.

Home-grown players like SonyLiv and Zee5 are also seeing strong user base thanks to their regional content and register MAUs somewhere around 70 million and 76.4 million respectively.

Prime Video and its innovations with comedy

Prime Video's first innovation in the comedy category was with Comicstaan that brought established comics with young talent on one platform. The idea did see traction and the show saw another season going live on the platform.

When it comes to stand-ups, currently Prime Video has as many as around 40 stand-up comedy (Indian comics) specials on its platform.

So, why the focus on comedy?  

Talking to Moneycontrol, Vijay Subramaniam, Director and Head, Content, Amazon Prime Video, India, said: "When we looked at India in terms of entertainment when we started, we recognised that comedy was an important category for young customers. We were looking at associations with comics whether it’s of open mic whether it’s of YouTube. The stand-up comedy phenomenon was very interesting.

"If you look at customer behavior towards comedy it is always very strong. If you look at the successful comedy films like Golmaal, Housefull4, if you look at the success of Laughter Challenge, it shows that Indians love this category. We noticed that there is a big comedy revival. And what we did early on is work with a big portfolio of comics and some of them were established. So, we studied the overall popularity and potential," he added.

Along with introducing more comic talent to Indians, Prime Video also focused on languages to cater to a wider audience.

"We realised that comedy is not just in English. Zakir Khan was one of the most successful comics who was delivering in Hindi. Down south a new breed of comics were delivering in Tamil. We focused on multi-lingual comedy as we saw that there are comics rooted in their language and even when it comes to viewers, even the young adults who follow the trend of English comedy like comedy on their local dialect," said Subramaniam.

Prime Video is betting big on comedy and it already has its new line-up of stand-up specials ready for the upcoming months.

"Over the next few months, audiences can expect stand-up specials from some of India’s most loved comics including Sumukhi Suresh, Rohan Joshi, Ashish Shakya, Naveen Richard, Varun Thakur and Zakir Khan," he said.

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First Published on Nov 29, 2019 11:12 am
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