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Amazon lines up India launch

Amazon is reportedly aiming to roll out its VoD service in India this year as a launch from Netflix looms in the country.

Nitesh Kripalani

Nitesh Kripalani

The e-commerce giant has set aside US$5bn to make the South Asian nation its second biggest market (after the US), according to local media.

Amazon reportedly plans to launch its Amazon Instant Video service in India this year and has already started conversations with music labels and producers to source content. The news follows Amazon India’s plans announced last July to invest an additional US$2bn in India.

In December, the company hired former Sony Entertainment executive Nitesh Kripalani to lead its new initiatives.

It comes as Netflix reportedly aims to launch in India next year with a raft of local content, with the streamer looking to add to its global subscriber base of 65 million.

The move, part of Netflix’s strategy to be “nearly global by 2016,” has spurred Indian media companies to come up with strategies to diversify beyond linear TV – and this could also affect Amazon.

One of the companies’ main rivals could be Hooq, a joint venture between SingTel, Warner Bros and Sony Pictures Television. The service allows users to stream and download movies and TV shows in India for 199 rupees (US$3.20) a month – cheaper than Netflix’s US$7.99 monthly rate.

Another competitor would be new player Hotstar, backed by Fox’s Star India network, which has large audiences for its sports properties including the Cricket World Cup. Other existing SVoD payers are Zee TV’s Ditto TV and Eros Now, owned by Eros Group.

India is the second largest mobile market in the world after China, which has 1.27 billion users. However, India still faces infrastructure problems, with internet speeds far slower than in the US – although this is expected to improve rapidly as 4G is rolled out in the country.

An Amazon India spokeswoman declined to comment.


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