Why OTT platforms Amazon, Viu turning towards regional contents other than Hindi

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Last year, US-based video streaming platforms, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix extended their battle to the Indian market. They made an announcement to set aside Rs 2,000 crore each for acquiring content to attract subscribers.

Besides, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix also devised a new strategy for the Indian market—generating local content.

Amazon then also committed to invest $300 million for creating original content (in Hindi and regional languages) for Indian users.

The video platform has now begun rolling regional web series in languages other than Hindi and English in India. Last month, it launched its first regional web series in India, a Telugu dark comedy called Gangstars.

Apart from Amazon, video streaming service Viu has started offering service in Telugu after Hindi and Tamil. This July, it plans to launch six new originals in Tamil language in collaboration with local production houses and talents.

Along the same line, the streaming service platform of Zee Entertainment ZEE5 is going forward to release one original show every month in regional languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam.

Experts say that the streaming platforms have realized the potential of regional languages whose speakers are spread across the world. For instance, ALTBalaji’s Tamil show Maya Thirrai witnessed viewership across the Middle East, US, and UK which house huge sections of Tamil population.

They believe that OTT (over-the-top) platforms see new opportunities in other regional languages as Hindi because even though there is a wide potential in Hindi content, the market is equally cluttered. “Regional content definitely gives better uptake in terms of engagement, people usually take half the time to lap up regional content (as compared to Hindi or English).”

As per estimates, the OTT market is currently valued at $280 million with nearly 100 million subscribers, and it is poised to grow at 35 per cent year-on-year.

Hotstar, Voot, Amazon Prime Video, Sony Liv, and Netflix are the top OTT platforms in India.

As of late December last year, Hotstar had monthly active subscribers base of 75 million, according to Counterpoint.

Voot was the second largest player with 22 million monthly subscriber base. Besides, Amazon, Sony Liv, and Netflix had registered monthly subscriber base of 11 million, 5 million, and 5 million, respectively.

The development was first reported by Mint.

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