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Why Amazon launched its first mobile-only video plan in India


By Amit Bapna, Editor-at-large

January 20, 2021 | 4 min read

Amazon launched its first-ever mobile-only video plan in India and experts believe it chose India to offer a point of difference in a competitive market, and capitalise on the country's strong mobile user base.


Amazon launches its global-first mobile-only video plan in India

India is a complex and nuanced market where brands have had to often tweak their strategies to find relevance and also increase their market share. Brands need to be localised keeping in mind the local nuances and market requirement.

There are many instances of global brands tweaking their go-to-market strategy and opting for India-first localisation. Kellogg’s, the leading breakfast cereal, launched many variants that were unique to India to suit the local palate. Uber, the leading riding app, did not have the cash payment option anywhere in the world until it rolled out the payment service unique to India. This is all because consumer habits are different. There are many such instances of India-first brand initiatives rolled out by global players.

Last month global OTT player Netflix, and Amazon Prime’s ace competitor, had announced StreamFest. Designed as a two-day bonanza, the idea was to get the non-subscribers to access the content on the platform for two days for free and get a taste of its content offering. Of course with the hope that the sampling exercise would lead to many new customers entering the OTT player fold.

More recently Amazon Prime, the premium streaming service, in its bid to increase its footprint in the Indian market introduced Prime Video ‘mobile edition’ making India the first Amazon Prime country globally to offer customers such an option.

Why going ‘mobile-only’ in India make sense for Amazon Prime

India, with its high mobile penetration and equally high engagement rates, has been a fast-growing territory for most OTT players including Amazon. Launched as a single-user mobile-only plan, this is the OTT player’s bid to tap India’s mobile-strong consumer base, in a very competitive market. This maiden roll-out is in conjunction with Bharti Airtel owned Airtel brand.

According to Jay Marine, vice president, Amazon Prime Video Worldwide, "we want to double-down by offering our entertainment content to an even larger base of Indian customers. With the launch of Prime Video Mobile Edition, we look forward to entertaining every Indian with our content.”

Navigating the unique Indian landscape

Over the last few years, powered by access to affordable data, smartphones have become preferred, and for a significant segment of the audience, the only screen for entertainment in India.

Explaining the genesis of this India-first launch Gaurav Gandhi, director and country general manager of Amazon Prime Video India shares with The Drum, “Given that close to 95% households in India are single-TV homes, the smart-phone becomes the default screen for video viewing for many in a family. 85% of India’s Internet access is mobile-driven and it is important to note that over 90% of all mobile customers accessing data services are pre-paid customers.”

Thus, any OTT player looking at increasing its market-share must factor in this large consumer cohort in its marketing strategy.

Choosing the right partner to increase the footprint

This India-first coming together of an OTT player and a telecom player opens up the market for the OTT player in its bid to have an enhanced footprint for the brand in India and also expand the reach of the service to the entire pre-paid customer base. The alliance gives access to the large base of Airtel customers and they can purchase the prepaid packs/plans on the Airtel app or at over one million Airtel off-line stores across India, as per Gandhi. The tie-up will enable Prime Video to leverage Airtel’s core strengths of deep distribution and network for video streaming.

Adds Gandhi, “we truly want to democratize access to premium entertainment content with Prime Video Mobile Edition.”


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