Prime Video's Kelly Day breaks down Gaurav Gandhi's Asian development plans

Prime Video is bullish on the large, diverse and volatile Asian streaming market, driven by growth in India and Japan, the streamer's top executives in charge of the region have said.

Excluding China, where international streamers are unlikely to be present, the region's online video component is forecast to grow 9.2% to reach $46 billion by 2028, according to a study by research and consulting firm Media Partners Asia. The study estimates Japan's total video market at $32 billion, making it the second largest market in Asia after China. Prime Video is the market leader in the Japanese streaming space.

Gaurav Gandhi, VP, APAC and MENA said in a Prime video Variety, „We're the biggest and most interesting business in Japan…a mix of licensed and original, and we're doing more unscripted.” Gandhi provides an example of the „LOL” design that originated in Japan and is franchised around the world. „We're looking at a big manga animation IP and how it can become big,” Gandhi said. The manga has also had recent success in live action, with the success of „The Silent Service” leading to a sequel. Gandhi said sports is a growth area and local broadcasters are signing on to Prime Video's channels service. „From Japan's point of view, we're looking at multiple categories because we're a very mature business,” Gandhi said, „and there's still a lot of opportunity there.”

From the $12 billion Korea market, Prime Video is looking at content that works around the world, Gandhi cited the success of the „Marry My Husband” series. It's a different story in Southeast Asia, where the latest data from Media Partners Asia, which covers Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, added just 1.3 million new SVOD subscribers in 2023, compared to 11 million in 2022. But subscription revenue rose 12.5% ​​to $1.4 billion.

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Here, the Prime Video model has shifted from being based on original productions to focusing on licensing. “We've moved to a slightly different model of content sourcing in Southeast Asia, where we're relying more on deep licensing, working with partners, and some originals coming out of those regions. But I think we're seeing a more licensing-inclined approach from there, because our Japanese anime, Korean content, even Indian content are doing well in these regions,” Gandhi said.

„We're relatively early in Southeast Asia. When you move into a new location very quickly, it's important to test the waters with a variety of content. And more acquisitions give us the opportunity to really test and learn as we start to scale,” said Kelly Day, VP Prime. Video International, said. Variety. „I imagine at some point, we'll do more originals. But right now, we really like the opportunity to test and learn through different kinds of acquisitions.

There are currently no immediate plans for Greater China or India's South Asian neighbors, but opportunities have been identified, Gandhi said.

Dey and Gandhi were talking Variety An impressive 69 titles, including 40 new and returning originals, were unveiled at the launch of the 2024 Prime Video India slate in Mumbai earlier this week. According to Media Partners Asia Research, the Indian market is worth $13 billion.

„There are only a few big places outside the US that are driving significant growth. And India is at the top of that list. So at this point, India is now the number one driver of new Prime starts outside the US, which is incredible to see,” Day said. „Prime video is incredibly popular in India. .The majority of Prime customers are streaming Prime Video, which is actually a very popular benefit here, which is amazing to see. India has been an incredible success story for us.

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„India is the biggest market for producing original series and movies,” Dey added. „Because people love our shows so much, and they love our movies, that's really the engine that drives it.” Apart from original and licensed movies, Gandhi points to the success of a bouquet of streamer channels, the TVOD business and the service's deep penetration into the country, something India's country president Sushant Sriram is similarly excited about.

Sports, especially cricket, is a big subscriber driver in India, with a $6.2 billion price tag for the lucrative Indian Premier League competition split between then-rivals and now partners Viacom18 and Disney Star. Prime Video has exclusive rights to broadcast all international cricket matches played against New Zealand cricket teams.

„We look at it very opportunistically, meaning that franchise cycles only come every few years. So, to some extent, you're looking at when franchises become available,” Day said. „Right now, obviously, franchises continue to increase. We have certainly seen cricket in India. But we now have some live games on the surface. We'll continue to see when they come, I mean, we really like it and we know our customers like it. There is nothing like it, sports fans, they will return to every match. So, we're always happy to acquire rights when we think it makes sense.

Gandhi says the service has seen the success of sports aggregator Fancode, which is available on Prime Video's Channels service.

With a population of over 1.44 billion, India is the most populous country on the planet, 600 million of whom are between the ages of 18-35. Prime Video sees this as a growth opportunity and a significant portion of its 2024 original slate caters to the younger demographic. Day says Prime Video titles like „The Summer I Turned Pretty” and „Red, White & Royal Blue,” based on popular YA IP, „blew away” streamer expectations and were driven by „social media-savvy audiences.”

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„The success we've had with some of those big global titles has really given us a lot of confidence and a lot of hope that we can start investing in some of our local programming in young adult programming,” Day said. . „India is a young country, with a huge population of young people, and with so much rich IP to draw from here, it seems like the right place to continue that investment.” Gandhi added that the service wants to dispel the myth that the population doesn't pay for content, and plans to invest in the segment „on an ongoing basis” for both Amazon paid Prime Video and Indian AVOD service MiniTV.

„That's the spirit of what we're trying to do here, it's a very entrepreneurial group. We're always willing to try new things and put it out there,” Day said.

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