Amazon doubles down on Prime video push in India with Lionsgate deal

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Amazon is doubling down on its bet to to grow its streaming business in India, announcing on Friday a long-term exclusive deal that will bring Lionsgate’s top films to its Prime video service in the country.

While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, the partnership with Lionsgate will bring Oscar winning films like La La Land and other titles like Deepwater Horizon to Indian viewers. Moreover, these movies will not be available on satellite or cable television.

Jeff Bezos’ ecommerce site is betting big on growth in India and first launched its video streaming service in the world’s second most populous country in December. It is also working on the production of an original Indian series. On its most recent earnings call, chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said that India “continues to be a rather large investment for us” and “we’re bullish on India longer-term and it’s early”.

While Amazon’s ecommerce operations in India face fierce competition from local rival Flipkart, the fast-growing video streaming market is still up for grabs and can help lure more customers to its Prime service.

Indeed, at a time when developed markets, like the US, appear saturated and face softer growth, user penetration in subscription-based-video-on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in India is estimated to be just 0.7 per cent in 2017 or about 7m users, according to Statista. Those figures are expected to rise to 2 per cent in 2021 or about 20.4m users respectively. Statista also estimates that revenue in the segment will grow from $19m this year to $100m in 2021.

Netflix launched in the country in January last year as part of the company’s bigger push into international markets. But the service carries a price tag of Rs 500 a month (about $7.50) for its basic package, and two other packages priced at Rs 650 and Rs 800 a month. That compares with Amazon’s Prime service, that includes free product delivery and now video streaming, for Rs 499 a year ($7.40).

But both companies also face off against domestic competitors like Voot, Viacom18′s offering, Hotstar and ErosNow.

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