Amazon to double investments in India for Prime Video

WASHINGTON: Amazon chief Jeff Bezos has said the company's streaming service, Prime Video, is doing better in India than anywhere else and he has decided to double down the investment for it in the country.

Bezos met Bollywood biggies Thursday night at a gathering where he sat down for a chat with superstar Shah Rukh Khan and director Zoya Akhtar, recounting experience of his India trip and how his vision to create the world's biggest bookstore led to the foundation of Amazon.

The billionaire said the whole world is witnessing "a golden age of television" and he wants Amazon to be "the most talent friendly" studio in the world and India features prominently in this plan.

"Prime Video is doing well all over the world. It is doing well in Japan, in Germany as well as in America. It is doing well everywhere but there's nowhere it's doing better than in India," Bezos said during the half-an-hour-long chat with Shah Rukh and Zoya. He added that the Prime membership, which comes with free shipping from Amazon, has also proved great for the e-commerce service.

"It's a vehicle to make fantastic content and from business point of view, it works for us as well. So we love it. We just made a decision to double down in our Prime Video investments here in India," he said.

The number of hours that people watched Prime Video had grown by six times in just two years in India, he added.

The streamer, which has rivals in Netflix and Hotstar, also unveiled seven more shows that will soon be joining its exclusive Indian content slate.The shows are Dilli, Bandish Bandits, Paatal Lok, Gormint, Mumbai Diaries-26/11, The Last Hour and Sons of Soil- Jaipur Pink Panthers.

The existing popular India originals include Mirzapur, Inside Edge, Zoya's Made in Heaven, Four More Shots and The Family Man. Bezos said one should not try for a successful formula in entertainment as storytelling is an incredibly difficult art with people always looking for something new.

"This is one of those businesses which really takes human ingenuity... I want Amazon Studios to be all over the world.... When you look at TV series today, they are really good in terms of quality. They're as good as the very best movies have ever been.

And now we're getting the best storytellers and actors to come and do TV. "One of the hardest things that humans do is tell riveting, engaging, inspiring stories. When you get it right, it's a lever that can change the world," he said.

Bezos, who is on his fourth trip to the country and the first one in Mumbai, said he had never seen a more diverse place than India. In Delhi, he also visited the Gandhi memorial and laid a wreath in honour of the Mahatma. The trip, he said, was very meaningful for him.

"There's a man that truly changed the entire world, taught the principles of non-violence... It was a great honour to be able to go there," he said.

 

 

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PTI