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Amazon confirms plans for video launch in India

While the e-commerce giant is still mum on how many subscribers its SVOD boasts, its overall Q2 financials were strong, with a 34% increase in sales.
July 29, 2016

Amazon Prime Video is coming to India. The e-commerce giant announced plans to expand its Prime program — a paid membership service that includes perks such as same or next-day shipping, discounts and, of course, access to Amazon’s popular SVOD services — during its Q2 financial results on July 28. The video service will go head-to-head with Netflix, which launched in the country in January.

CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement that staff in India are working “at a torrid pace” to bring services to customers in the country. “Prime Video is coming soon, offering Prime members in India exclusive access to Amazon Original Series and Movies — including original content featuring top Indian creators and talent,” he said.

While there is no set date on the official launch, other Prime services are already available in India.

Overall, Amazon’s financial performance was strong, with a 31% increase in sales ($30.4 billion) from the same period in 2015 and net income was $857 million, compared with $92 million in Q2 2015. The triumphant tone from Amazon was a sharp contrast to Netflix, which revealed disappointing profit margins, especially in the U.S., in its recent Q2 results.

However, Amazon still remained quiet on how big a player Amazon Prime and its video subscription service is in its larger portfolio (the service was recently un-bundled from Prime, allowing users to subscribe to the service on a month-by-month basis without paying the yearly Prime fee.) Nor did the company share the size of its Prime membership. However, a January report from independent market research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated that Prime has boasts 54 million of members in the U.S.

The Seattle-based corporation is taking a different approach to global expansion than both of its SVOD rivals, Netflix and Hulu.

Netflix has chosen a path of rapid expansion. Its first launch outside the U.S. was in Canada in 2010, and it then spread to 60 countries between over five years. Earlier this year, it launched in an additional 130 countries, making it available in all but four global territories (Mainland China, North Korea, Syria and Crimea).

On the other hand, Hulu has chosen to focus on U.S. operations and has made it clear that it will remain a U.S.-only service for the time being.

Amazon initially launched its Prime Video service in the U.S. in 2006 (and began producing originals in 2013, with the comedy movies Alpha House and Betas). In 2014, it expanded the video service to the U.K., Germany and Austria, followed by Japan in 2015.

There is some SVOD competition for Amazon in India — Singtel-owned Hooq launched in the country last year, and of course, there’s Netflix, which has already begun production on its first Indian original.

Pictured: Amazon original Transparent

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