Introducing Amazon Prime Video
Ever since Amazon launched its Prime service in India there has been only one question plaguing our minds, “When is Amazon Prime Video coming to India?” The kindly folks at Amazon seem to have gauged this sentiment and on 14 December 2016, Amazon Prime Video came to India.
We have to give it to Amazon – the timing couldn’t have been better. The entry of Reliance Jio brings with it high speed and low cost Internet, a trend that is sweeping across the nation. Average broadband speeds too are on the rise and streaming of videos is the way ahead. At a time when Netflix and Hotstar are the quickly becoming favorites, Amazon Prime’s new video offering comes as a delight to video buffs in the country.
What Is Amazon Prime Videos Offering?
Amazon Prime Video is now offering a 30 day free trial period for new users following which a fee of INR 499 is charged on an annual basis allowing users to stream videos in the library. Amazon Prime Video library can be accessed through its application (available both on Android and iOS platforms). The videos can be streamed across numerous devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and smart televisions.
Netflix Vs. Amazon Prime Video
Netflix came to India back in January 2016, almost a year before Amazon Prime Video did. Let us take a look at how the both stack up against each other –
Netflix has three different subscription plans in India. The Basic plan comes at INR 500 per month. While it gives us unlimited access to movies and TV shows, it does not provide HD or Ultra HD content. The Standard subscription at INR 650 a month allows HD video streaming along with access on two screens simultaneously. The Premium account allows three screen access and Ultra HD support at INR 800 a month.
After the initial free trial period of 30 days, Amazon Prime Video charges a fee of INR 499 per annum (introductory offer) and this may soon go up to INR 999 a year. Even if news of the forthcoming hike is true, it is much less than the Netflix subscription.
Netflix has some great content offering for its users. A look at the shows on offer will reveal popular series such as Sherlock, Breaking Bad, Top Gear, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Still Game, and Better Call Saul. The biggest advantage that Netflix has are the Netflix Originals such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Narcos, Stranger Things, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Master of None. Amazon has a good offering too; the TV series on offer include Amazon’s Original Series such as Transparent, Bosch, Mozart in the Jungle, and Red Oaks apart from popular shows such as Seinfeld, Person of Interest, Dexter, Two and a Half Man, Mad Men, and Californication. Compared to Netflix, though this catalogue is not as impressive.
While Amazon is still building up its catalogue, its Hindi fare is certainly impressive. Considering the lack of interesting Bollywood titles in the Netflix library, Amazon Prime Video stands out. Amazon is now partnering with various leading production companies such as Dharma Productions, T-Series, and Vishesh Films to feature popular Bollywood movies. Some of the latest releases already on offer include Amazon app include Kabali, Fan, Sarabjit, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Sultan Dil Dhadakne Do, and many more. Amazon also has some great vernacular titles available for its users.
One of the best offerings that Amazon may have for its Indian users’ is its regional comedy series. Amazon has announced a partnership with OML (Only Much Louder) with a promise to bring its viewers comedy specials from 14 famous humour artists. Each of these stand up comedians have been promised 60 to 80 minute specials with no censorship. These artists are –
- Sapan Verma (Obsessive Comedic Disorder)
- Sorabh Pant (My dad thinks he’s funny)
- Azeem Banatwalla (Cometh the hour)
- Kanan Gill
- Kenny Sebastian (Don’t be that guy)
- Naveen Richard (Don’t make that face)
- Neville Shah
- Zakir Khan (Single magar haq se)
- Anuvab Pal (Alive at 40)
- S Aravind (Madrasi Da)
- Varun Thakur (Vicky this side, Varun that side)
- Aadar Malik (Stand up – The Musical)
- Biswa Kalyan Rath
- EIC Outrage Special
Which Is Better?
Considering its pricing, Amazon Prime Video certainly seems very attractive. It also has a great regional offering but if you are a Netflix Originals buff, nothing else will satisfy your appetite.
Is Amazon Prime Video A Game Changer?
Indian audience has been slow in its evolution over the decades. Back till the early 1990s, we were heavily dependent on the VCP and VCR devices for any viewing that did not involve movie theatres or the few cable TV channels we had. The options were as limited as the devices. Most of the recorders required bulky cassettes and movies, music videos, apart from the one-off comedy releases circulated by lending libraries were the only options we had. The turn of the millennium brought with it a technological boom. CDs and DVD devices along with a host of international channels. And then there was no looking back. Not only did Indian viewers want to watch their favorite shows but also international films. With the coming of the Internet revolution, streaming videos have become the norm, or at least downloading for multi device viewing. Graduating from YouTube videos, we are now ready for the likes of Hotstar, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video. Considering its range of offerings, innovative plans and competitive pricing Amazon Prime Video is certainly set to change the way we watch videos in days to come.