Amazon Prime Video bets on reality shows in India
New Delhi: After aggressively bidding for local licensed content led by movies, online streaming platform Amazon Prime Video is eyeing reality shows to drive online viewership in India.
“Reality shows are now more popular than ever, across a variety of genres. Customers globally have told us how much they enjoy reality shows, like the Japanese Prime Video fan favourite, The Bachelor Japan. With the launch of multiple new original reality shows, we’re aiming to offer our Indian customers a variety of quality new reality content to enjoy,” said James Farrell, head of content, Amazon Prime Video, Asia Pacific.
The company on Wednesday announced three unscripted original Amazon shows—a six-episode travelling comedy show with standup comedian Vir Das, a 10-episode nationwide hunt to find India’s next big comic sensation and a 10-episode music competition show. These shows—Jestination Unknown, Comic Kaun and The Remix—are expected to go live in the first three months of next year.
The development comes soon after arch rival Netflix announced two more original series it will produce in India: Selection Day, a story of cricket and corruption based on a book by Booker prize-winner Aravind Adiga, and Again, a detective show written by Marisha Mukerjee.
Vijay Subramaniam, director (content), Amazon Prime Video India, said the company is always looking for new ways to engage with our customers. “We know Indians enjoy reality TV, so we are creating new originals with the best new concepts and local Indian talent. We’re excited to add more variety to our service, and continue to reinvent the way Indian customers watch TV,” he added.
Ashish Pherwani, media and entertainment advisory leader at consultancy firm EY India agreed that reality shows in India remain popular.
“Reality shows are used to generate trial and bring new audiences for television channels and platforms. If you look back, many general entertainment channels grew significantly or were launched at the back of reality shows. From a digital standpoint, reality shows lend themselves to online fan engagement,” he explained.
Indians have a choice of over 50 reality shows including Bigg Boss, Kaun Banega Crorepati and Sa Re Ga Ma broadcast across multiple television channels, as per industry estimates.
Amazon Prime Video, which is run by Seattle-based e-commerce firm Amazon.com Inc. in India, in December announced 18 original shows for India, making it Amazon’s first international market with the largest number of original shows outside the US. This deal takes Amazon’s India originals to a total of 21 shows.
Sports drama Inside Edge, the company’s first India original which released last month became the most watched show on the platform in a short span of time, the company said in July.
Earlier this month, Amazon Prime Video won the digital streaming rights to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s romantic period drama Padmavati for an estimated Rs25 crore.