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On-demand streaming service Amazon Prime Video has announced the launch of Prime Video Store, a transaction-video-on-demand (TVoD) offering that will allow Prime subscribers as well as non-subscribers to access movies on rent. Users have to click on a separate tab on the app and website to access the pay-per-view service, with prices ranging from 69 to 499 for one-time access. The film will be available for 30 days but must be viewed within a 48-hour window.

Prime Video also said that it would double its investment in India for the next five years and launch 40 new titles in the next two years, including originals, and enhance the scope of its unscripted series catalogue to explore genres such as biographies, true-crime, and investigative docudramas.

The scripted original series will include supernatural thriller Adhura in collaboration with Emmay Entertainment, Excel Entertainment’s Bambai Meri Jaan, Karan Johar production Call Me Bae, serial killer drama Dahaad starring Sonakshi Sinha, Rohit Shetty’s Indian Police Force, and Shahid Kapoor and Vijay Sethupath-starrer Farzi. It will also air returning seasons of Breathe Into My Shadows, Four More Shots Please!, Made In Heaven and Mirzapur. Unscripted originals will include a documentary based on Punjabi hip hop singer AP Dhillon and India Love Project, a docuseries with Johar.

Amazon will co-produce Akshay Kumar-starrer Ram Setu and Vidya Balan’s Neeyat, which will be available on the platform after their theatrical releases. It will also buy streaming rights for post-theatrical releases of Ajay Devgn’s Runway 34, Bhola, Thank God and Drishyam 2, Karan Johar’s Jug Jug Jeeyo, Govinda Naam Mera, and Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani, Excel Media’s Phone Bhoot, Jee Le Zara ,and Kho Gaye Hain Hum Kahan, and Yash Raj Films’ Pathan, Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Prithviraj, Shamshera, and Tiger 3.

“In tune with our vision to become an entertainment hub, we have innovated in the way we offer movies, from films in a post-theatrical early-window to direct-to-service premieres bringing movies to consumers’ living rooms and preferred devices," said Gaurav Gandhi, country head, Amazon Prime Video India.

The launch of the TVoD movie rental service will not just give expanded reach to these films but also give customers more choice in how they want to access and watch content, Gandhi added.

To be sure, the move to offer films on a pay-per-view basis hasn’t really taken off in India even though platforms like ZeePlex, BookMyShow Stream and ShemarooMe have tried it over the pandemic.

While Hindi crime drama Khaali Peeli, Tamil film Ka Pae Ranasingam and Salman Khan’s Radhe made little money on ZeePlex, other films on ShemarooMe and BookMyShow Stream also generated negligible buzz. Trade experts cite poor monetisation and rampant piracy leading to big revenue loss, as reasons for failure of the model. According to a recent report by multinational professional services network PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), TVoD (transaction video-on-demand) or pay-per-view that allows users to pay for one viewing of a single offering, takes market share of only 9.9% of the total VoD (video-on-demand) market in India and is forecasted to decline to just 6.7% by 2025.

“Monetization has proven fairly tough with the pay-per-view strategy and India still has a long way to go given that first the SVoD (subscription video-on-demand) model, which itself is in early days, needs to reach a respectable stage," said a media and entertainment industry analyst who did not wish to be named.

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