In 2 years, Amazon Prime's viewing hours have grown 10 times: VP Jay Marine

Jay Marine
The estimated $1.7-billion Amazon Prime Video is having a great run in Asia. According to Media Partners Asia, it is now the seventh-largest online video player in the Asia-Pacific region, just after Netflix. Jay Marine, vice-president, Amazon Prime Video, was in Mumbai to announce the launch of The Family Man. The 10-episode Manoj Bajpayee starrer is about a middle-class man who is also a spy. Vanita Kohli-Khandekar spoke to Marine on his view of the India market. Edited excerpts:

What is the shape of India business for Amazon Prime Video — subscribers, revenues, time spent?

The India market is important for Amazon Prime Video. It is the fastest-growing Prime market (Prime is the membership of Amazon’s e-commerce services, which also offers access to the video service). On the video front, the growth is fantastic and we continue to invest in local shows and regional movies. While I can’t give out the India metrics, let me put it this way — in the last two years, our viewing hours have increased 10X. This number reflects that we are reaching more customers and they are watching more videos. Prime Video is present in over 4,000 towns in the country. So, consumer growth is not just consolidated but also broad. 

How does this market behave differently from some of the others you are in?

What is unique about India is the different cultures and languages. We serve content in 10 languages; nine of these are Indian and one is English. The way we programme is for the mass and the content strategy is broad-based to cater to all those 10 segments. So, there is a diverse set of consumers and languages. The second difference is that India is a mobile-first country; mobile usage is very high, though we are seeing viewership growth in the living room too. And, like in every market in India, too, the young adult is ahead of the curve in adopting technology. But the numbers here are larger. Also, we release films on Amazon 4-8 weeks after their theatrical release. So, both originals and films contribute to our growth. 

How much original content have you commissioned in India and does it travel to other markets? 

Currently, we have 30 originals at various stages of development. So, we will be releasing roughly one original a month. This is besides the 12 shows that are already online, these include Inside Edge, Four More Shots Please, and the about to be released, The Family Man, which was premiered in Los Angeles, and it is not usual for an Indian show to be premiered in the US city.  One in three of the viewers for these shows is from outside India. Hence, for a content creator too, it is a fantastic opportunity to be released on a global platform across 200 countries.

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