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India Driving More Amazon Subs; New Slate Unveiled

India has driven subscribers to Amazon than any other country bar the U.S. over recent years, according Head of Prime Video & Amazon MGM Studios Mike Hopkins.

As Prime Video announced its latest local content slate at a ‘Prime Video Presents India’ showcase, which comprises nearly 70 films and shows, Hopkins told an audience that Indian Prime subscribers were also the most likely to convert to Prime Video — emphasizing how the country has become central to Amazon’s growth internationally.

“For the last several years, outside of the U.S. more people have signed up for Prime in India than anywhere else in the world, and in India more people sign up for Prime Video than any other benefit,” said Hopkins. “Last year, India had the highest percentage of Prime Members stream Prime Video than any country in the world.” 

Prime Video used its showcase to also reveal Indian content is consistently watched in over 210 countries and territories on its service, with Indian programming trending in the Top 10 on Prime Video worldwide for 43 of the last 52 weeks.

“We look at that next 250 million subscribers that we’re going to acquire, which are definitely going to come from outside the United States. We’re not going to be able to achieve that unless we do a really good job for customers in India, so India is a key geography for us,” Hopkins added.

Indeed, India was unaffected by the recent cuts to Prime Video’s international originals efforts and the event today underlined the streamer’s ambitions in the market. The neighboring Southeast Asia-focused Singapore office was significantly reduced, with the original content team axed.

Hopkins pointed to the speed of streaming growth in India as an another factor in Amazon’s strategic focus on the country. “When I think about streaming television and I think of India, what’s remarkable is that I’ve heard many people say this week that more people are streaming TV and film than they’re watching it on linear television on satellite cable,” he said. “And what’s remarkable about that is that streaming has only really existed for seven or eight years.”

He was talking at an event that attracted Indian celebrities such as Nikhil Advani and Karan Johar, the latter of whom conducted Hopkins’ interview.

69-strong slate

Slate announcements at the even comprised 40 original series and 29 films, in several genres in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

This included the Hindi-language series set within the Citadel universe, now titled Citadel: Honey Bunny, starring Varun Dhawan, Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Kay Kay Menon and from Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, who are also behind comedy drama Gulkanda Tales. as well as a show titled Dupahiya, set in a village that is celebrating 25 years of being crime-free.

The Hindi language slate also includes Matka King will follow an enterprising cotton trader in Mumbai who starts a new gambling game called Matka, which surges in popularity in the city, and will be produced by Roy Kapur Films, Aatpat and SMR Productions.

Other titles includes alcohol startup drama Daring Partners; unscripted series Follow Karlo Yaar and The Tribe, the latter which is about Indian influencers in LA; Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti and Ayesha Sood trans and non-binary doc series In Transit, Indian software industry doc The Great Indian Code. Ranjeen stars Vineet Kumar Singh, Rajshri Deshpande and Taaru Raina, and follow a middle-aged husband confronting an uncomfortable truth.

Prime Video is lining up eight features, including Anil Kapoor action drama Subedar. Also on the slate are Adarsh Gaurav-starring comedy Supermen of Malegaon; Indian independence-themed Ae Watan Mere Watan; the Abhishek Bachchan-starrer Be Happy. Uppu Kappu Rambu Cheekati Lo is among the Telugu-language titles. 

Prime Video is also expanding its reach with younger demographics, developing content suited to their interests. “We also have a fast-growing young adult audience, and we’re really focused on that audience because obviously you’re in India as a young country,” said Hopkins.

Young adult titles including Dharmatic Entertainment comedy-drama Call Me Bae, Ankur Tewari and Swanand Kirkire musical Bandwaale, Gen Z drama Ziddi Girls and coming-of-age drama Dil Dosti Dilemma.

There will also be a spate of returning series and 29 licensed films.

“At Prime Video, it has been our focus to super-serve Indian customers with the best of entertainment across formats. From clutter-breaking Original series and movies, direct-to-service premieres to post-theatrical launches of some of the biggest hits across languages, our goal is to be the first choice of entertainment for every customer,” said Sushant Sreeram, Country Director, Prime Video, India.

“Our content broke new grounds in 2023, helping India remain a front runner, across international locales, in new customer adoption and Prime member engagement. We are humbled by the love we have received from our customers, and want every story on our service to be someone’s favourite show or movie. In sync with this, we are thrilled to unveil our biggest, most diverse slate till date, and are certain that our upcoming series and movies will continue to enthrall audiences, not just in India but around the world.” 

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