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Amazon Prime Video doubles down on India with a slate of 40 originals

The news: Amazon Prime Video announced that it will more than double its investments in India over the next five years, cranking the temperature up in the battle for one of the fastest-growing markets for streaming services, per Variety.

More on this: Several streaming services already have significant investments in India, and continue to clash over exclusive broadcasting rights and production of original content.

  • Amazon is slightly behind the curve in India compared with other young streaming competitors like Disney+ but still ahead of long-time domestic leaders like Netflix. Disney+ Hotstar leads streaming subscribers in the region with 50 million, Prime Video is far behind with 16 million, and Netflix is a distant third with 5.5 million, per Media Partners Asia.
  • Streamers are also locked in a bidding war for exclusive rights to stream live cricket matches which could exceed $5 billion, per Bloomberg, a sign of the importance of both the Indian market and live sports to the streaming industry.

The challenge: Pushing into India isn’t as easy as shipping a platform overseas. Given the country’s wide variety of languages, cultures, and regulations, streaming services face challenges in reaching various pockets of viewers and producing originals that can appeal to India’s broad audience.

  • Though Amazon may be lagging behind in terms of subscribers, it is making inroads with original content. Two of the streaming service’s shows won Emmys, and it had 70 new shows in production as of February, per Variety.
  • But with its recent announcement of 40 planned shows and films over the next five years, Amazon is set to become one of the largest content producers in the region.

Looking forward: Even with its significant lead over other streamers, Disney+ Hotstar’s dominance in India isn’t a sure thing. Amazon has established a significant brand presence in the region, and the country is still a growing market for Netflix, which is seeing subscriber losses at home and in other foreign markets.