Netflix, Amazon beat Disney+ Hotstar amid India Covid-19 lockdown — India

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Despite a host of Indian options, American companies are winning the video streaming war in India.

Netflix and Amazon Prime Video held a 20% share each in India’s over-the-top (OTT) market between March and June 2020, according to JustWatch, an international streaming guide that helps users discover where to watch movies and TV shows across various services.

For both the American rivals, the India push has been getting stronger in recent months.

Mike Hopkins, senior vice-president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, recently called India a “priority market” where the platform will release over a dozen originals.

Netflix has previously only drawn affluent users in India due to its high pricing but it is trying to find ways to woo the masses, too. At the start of September, Netflix, as a marketing ploy, started offering Indian Android users free access to some of its most popular titles like Stranger Things, Bird Box, Love Is Blind, and Grace and Frankie without a subscription. Moreover, the California-based streaming giant reportedly began testing a “Mobile+” plan to let users stream in high-definition across mobile, tablet, and computer screens priced for Rs349 ($4.76) per month. Earlier in August, it also launched a Hindi interface.

Between having an inventory of original productions lined up months in advance and bringing old films onto the platforms, keeping the content flowing for most of these platforms has been a non-issue so far. Then, they got another boost: several big-banner Bollywood films skipped the silver screen and announced digital releases as cinemas remained shut. Amazon Prime Video released films like Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana’s Gulabo Sitabo and Vidya Balan-starrer Shakunthala Devi. Netflix bagged movies like Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl and Ludo, as well as BBC series A Suitable Boy, among other titles.

While they’re on a roll, they should keep an eye on the competition, too. Disney+ Hotstar, for instance, added 625,000 new subscribers in India between April and June.

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