E-commerce company Amazon India has announced the launch of its video streaming service - Amazon Prime Video, in India. Bundled with Amazon Prime - a subscription that offers shipping discounts among other benefits - Amazon Video can now be streamed ad-free and on-demand, at no additional cost to the Rs 499 annual Prime membership. This amounts to just Rs 41.50 a month - much lower than rival Netflix's Rs.500 per month fee. Home-grown Hotstar, Star's OTT platform too offers its premium content at Rs 199 per month.
Amazon goes big on local content in India
Also present at the launch were film directors Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti,Vikas Behl and comedy outfit, All India Bakchod (AIB) members Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba - all of whom have been roped in to create content exclusively for Prime Video.
Team Amazon said that it has started production of multiple shows across genres such as drama, comedy, psychological thrillers, biopics, period/action, mythological/fantasy, sports drama and political satire. This list includes - Bodhidharma: Master of Shaolin (Equinox Features -Ram Madhvani, Prasoon Joshi and Sunil Doshi), Breathe (Abundantia Entertainment - Vikram Malhotra, starring R Madhvan and Amit Sadh), The Ministry (AIB and OML), Powerplay (Excel Media and Entertainment -Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar starring Vivek Oberoi and Richa Chadda), Mirzapur (Excel Media & Entertainment - Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar), Stardust (Phantom Films -Vikramaditya Motwane, Madhu Mantena, Anurag Kashyap and Vikas Bahl), The Family Man (D2R Films - DK Krishna and Raj Nidimoru), Vishpuri (Big Synergy -Vikas Bahl, Vikramaditya Motwane, Anurag Kashyap and Madhu Mantena) and Made in Heaven (Excel and Tiger Baby - Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar, Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti.).
In addition to English and Hindi, the service will also offer regional movies in Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Marathi. The team adds that a lot of the content will be 'subbed and dubbed' too.
There is a visible absence, however, of sports content in the offering, but Amazon has bid for the rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year, as a nod to India's obsession with cricket.
As for international content, Prime members will also have access to Amazon Original Series from the US, including award-winning shows like Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle and The Man in the High Castle, as well as kid's content. This line up also has the new global adventure show, The Grand Tour, with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Many TV shows will be available first on Amazon Prime Video a day after the US broadcast.
Also in the library are movies and TV shows from Indian and international studios including Yash Raj Films, Dharma Productions, T-Series, Warner Bros, Paramount, CBS and Green Gold, as well as kids shows like Doraemon, Chhota Bheem and Oggy & the Cockroaches. Indian shows like Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, CID and Crime Patrol (that are telecast on Sony Entertainment Television), top stand-up shows from comedians like AIB, as well as content from NDTV and CBeebies are part of the catalogue.
The Prime Video app can be downloaded on Android and Apple devices and on popular internet connected TVs and gaming consoles. Users can also download select content for offline viewing.
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