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According to an MPA report, Netflix commands 14% of India’s total online video revenue market while Amazon takes up 7%. (Photo: AFP)
According to an MPA report, Netflix commands 14% of India’s total online video revenue market while Amazon takes up 7%. (Photo: AFP)

Amazon Prime Video takes on Netflix with new mobile-only plan

  • Amazon's move is in sync with its intent to penetrate deep into the country, manifest in its acquisition of big Bollywood titles like Coolie No. 1, Gulabo Sitabo and others in 2020

NEW DELHI: As the battle for eyeballs intensifies, Amazon Prime Video has announced its first mobile-only plan in the world, starting with India. The move comes more than a year after US rival Netflix launched its mobile plan priced at 199 a month in India.

Launched in collaboration with telecom company Bharti Airtel, the Amazon plan will only be available to pre-paid Airtel users in multiple forms - a 30-day free trial which may be followed by a 28-day plan priced at 89 for Prime Video content along with 6GB data. Traditional Amazon Prime membership was available for 129 a month or 999 per year.

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Prime Video Mobile Edition is a single-user mobile-only plan, providing SD (standard definition) quality streaming to customers which is created especially for a mobile-first country like India, Amazon said in a statement. Other offers under the plan include a 28-day pack priced at 299 that offers video content along with unlimited calls and data access of 1.5 GB per day.

"...Given high mobile broadband penetration in the country, the mobile phone has become one of the most widely used streaming devices. With the launch of Prime Video Mobile Edition, we look forward to entertaining every Indian with our exclusive and original content," Jay Marine, vice-president, Amazon Prime Video Worldwide, said in a statement.

To be sure, Amazon's move is in sync with its intent to penetrate deep into the country, manifest in its acquisition of big Bollywood titles like Coolie No. 1, Gulabo Sitabo and others in 2020 and its production slate that includes originals across vernacular languages.

“Netflix may have started the trend but its customers, belonging to a more upper-class segment are likely to be screen-agnostic and moved to TV sets especially over the course of the pandemic as broadband penetration evolved," Mihir Shah, vice-president at research firm Media Partners Asia (MPA) said.

The mobile-plan makes better sense for Amazon, Shah said, that is targeting a wider consumer base and wants to penetrate deeper into the heartland.

According to an MPA report, Netflix commands 14% of India’s total online video revenue market while Amazon takes up 7%.

“The latest option will allow it to target the next demographic, only a small percentage of which would have accessed its traditional pre-paid plans," Shah said.

Sameer Batra, director, mobile business development, Amazon, said the collaboration marks the deepening of the strategic association between Amazon and Airtel.

Airtel post-paid customers with an Infinity plan of 499 or above were already eligible for a one-year Amazon Prime membership. “Smartphones powered by pre-paid connections and affordable data are ubiquitous to a large base of Indian customers – Mobile Edition will make Prime Video synonymous to quality entertainment for this large customer group," Batra said in a statement.

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