Netflix, Amazon & The War For India, Agam Berry, Quantified Commerce


American based companies Netflix and Amazon have been competing for the eyes of India’s content consumers for the past handful of years. Since 2016 Netflix has had operations on the sub-continent, and in 2012 Amazon took its first steps into the Indian market. While Amazon started with e-commerce, the American behemoth has worked its way into many different businesses, including video streaming services. This has lead to the two streaming giants battling it out, and it seems like Amazon is winning.


One of the main reasons why Amazon is taking over India’s streaming space is due to price. Amazon has a yearly plan for the price of Rs 999, while Netflix is offering Rs 650 per month for its service. Now everyone loves cheaper prices, but a study shows Indians are actually statistically more price-sensitive than consumers in other countries.


Now price is a huge factor, but another factor that plays into the success Amazon is seeing in the Indian market has to do with their product offerings. It is more than likely that Amazon will attempt to offer local shows and movies in order to be more attractive to customers, and Amazon stated in early 2017 that it would invest $300 million into creating content for Hindi and regional languages. Meanwhile Netflix simply imports many foreign shows that, while drawing interest, may not be have the same attractiveness as a service that is both and offers more relatable content.


This is clearly a weakness for Netflix, and also offers an interesting look at what the future might hold for streaming services both in India and around the globe. As Amazon and Netflix expand to include new markets, it will behoove them to invest in creating content specific to those markets. Around 93% of the time that Indians spent watching online videos they were watching Hindi and regional language content. “The one mistake OTT service providers make when entering India is only hosting western content, or only extending their regional offering to Bollywood movies,” said Curt Marvis, CEO and co-founder of Toronto-based QYOU Media.


It seems like a combination of price and original content is working for Amazon. “India accounted for the highest number of Prime members in a debut year, growing the fastest among the 16 countries where Amazon Prime is available,” said Vijay Subramaniam, director of content at Amazon Prime Video India, told Quartz in an interview.


Another interesting factor that play into the war to become India’s number one online video streaming service is advertising and e-commerce. Obviously Amazon started its rise to global dominance in the e-commerce space, while Netflix is strictly a streaming platform. Becoming a one stop shop for both media and shopping gives Amazon an advantage. We spoke to Agam Berry, the co-founder of Quantified Commerce, a company focused on building e-commerce brands in India about the advantage that Amazon’s marketplace has when it comes to streaming content. “Obviously having shopping and media being a click away from each other is huge,” said Berry, “the fact that Prime members not only get a unique video streaming service but are also able to take advantage of free shipping gives Amazon the advantage.” Berry also spoke about Amazon’s advantage in terms of content, “they’re very smart to offer Hindi and native language programming, at Quantified Commerce we try to give our customers an experience tailored to their local languages and cultures, which is why we create a lot of content in local languages, and they’re doing the same thing by offering the same thing with their content push.”

While the Indian streaming space is still wide open, it seems like Amazon, with their superior price and content offerings, is set to take over. And while Netflix may still be in the fight it looks like due to Amazon’s Hindi and native language push they might just be down for the count when it comes to streaming in India.


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