The battle for eyeballs between online video streaming giants Netflix and Amazon Prime Video is set to intensify, with the latter's subscriber base overtaking the former in several markets, including India.
Within around a year of its launch, Amazon Prime Video is slightly ahead of Netflix in India, with about 10 percent of market share in 2017, revealed data from global information company IHS Markit. Although Netflix continues to be the global leader in online video streaming, Germany and Japan are the other two markets, where Amazon's subscriber base has surpassed that of Netflix's.
"To clarify, these are Amazon Prime subscribers who actively use Prime Video as opposed to the total Prime subs," an IHS Markit spokesperson told TOI.
Pricing has been the key factor for driving Amazon Prime and Prime Video in India, said analysts. "Initially, Amazon Prime was the same price per year (Rs 499) as the lowest tier Netflix subscription cost per month (Rs 500)," said the IHS Markit spokesperson. "Although this has now doubled to Rs 999 per year for Amazon, it is still a significant discount, considering a service that offers more than just online video."
With time, analysts expect Amazon's local content investments, integration and deals with local telcos and expansion of the Amazon Prime offering to be the key drivers for Amazon Prime Video's growth.
When contacted, a Netflix spokesperson refused to comment, stating that both companies follow different business models. However, in its recent letter to investors, the American online streaming giant said, "...Amazon Studios is likely to bring in a strong new leader given their large content budgets."
For Amazon Prime Video, India is a key market and in early 2017, Amazon stated that it would invest USD 300 million for creating original content (in Hindi and regional languages), a segment, which analysts consider an Achilles heel in Netflix's portfolio. Other than that, Netflix is competing with around 30 OTT (over-the-top) players in India, many of whom, including Hotstar, operate an optional free membership model. – TOI