Amazon, which already charges some of the world’s lowest fees for Prime Video in India, goes a step further to attract more users to the world’s second largest internet market. The e-commerce giant launched miniTV on Saturday, an ad-financed video streaming service that is available in the Amazon shopping app and is “completely free”. miniTV is currently only available in India, said Amazon.
miniTV delivers web series, comedy shows, and tech news, food, beauty, and fashion content “from the start,” said Amazon. Some of the titles currently available have been produced by leading studios like TVF and Pocket Aces – two of the largest web studios in India – and comedians like Ashish Chanchlani, Amit Bhadana, Round2Hell, Harsh Beniwal, Shruti Arjun Anand and Elvish Yadav. Prajakta Koli, Swagger Sharma, Aakash Gupta and Nishant Tanwar.
“The viewers are informed about the latest products and trends by the technology expert Trakin Tech, fashion and beauty experts such as Sejal Kumar, Malvika Sitlani, Jovita George, Prerna Chhabra and ShivShakti. Foodies can enjoy content from Kabita’s kitchen, cooking with Nisha, and gobbling up. MiniTV will be adding many more new and exclusive videos in the coming months, ”the company added without disclosing its future roadmap plans. (Amazon started integrating reviews and other web clippings – from media houses – into its shopping service in India more than two years ago.)
miniTV is currently available in Amazon’s Android app and will be available in the iOS counterpart and on the mobile web in the coming months, according to Amazon.
Amazon’s move follows a similar move by Walmarts Flipkart, the company’s marquee competitor in India, which launched the video streaming service on its app in 2019. In the past few years, numerous companies in India including Zomato have been exploring adding a video streaming offering to their own apps.
Amazon has also been aggressively pushing to expand its Prime Video offering in India in recent quarters. The company, which partnered with Indian telecommunications network Airtel earlier this year to launch a new monthly standard definition (SD) tier for single users (just $ 1.22) for mobile devices, has secured the right to do some cricket – Stream games in the country. Amazon also offers Prime Video as part of its Amazon Prime subscription in India. The service costs 999 Indian rupees ($ 13.6) per year and also includes access to Amazon Music and faster delivery.
According to App Annie, a mobile intelligence company (whose data an industry executive shared with .), Prime Video had over 60 million monthly active users in India in April, ahead of Netflix’s 40 million users. Netflix, which spent around $ 420 million on locally produced Indian content in 2019 and 2020, announced in March that it will be investing “significantly more” in India this year. However, in the company’s latest call-to-profit, founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings said investing in India is more “speculative” than investing in other markets.
Times Internet’s MX Player had over 180 million users and DIsney + Hotstar around 120 million over the same period. Their biggest competition in India remains YouTube, which has over 450 million monthly active users.
In addition to competition, video streaming services in India are facing another challenge. In late March, Amazon apologized to users in India for an original political drama series on rare occasions over allegations that some scenes in the nine-part miniseries affected the religious feelings of some people in the major overseas market.
Amazon’s apology came days after New Delhi announced new rules for on-demand video streaming services and social media businesses.