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Amazon launches free in-app video streaming service ‘miniTV’ in India

Amazon has launched a video streaming service within its shopping app called miniTV which is a free service available only in India for now, a move widely being looked at as a means to capture more users’ time. 

Amazon already has a robust presence in India in the video content space via its Prime Video platform and this latest move is seen as an exercise to increase engagement, experts said. 

The service is only available on Android devices as of now and it will be extended to Amazon’s iOS app and mobile web over the coming months. However, the service didn’t seem to be active for all Android users at the time of publication and we are yet to hear from Amazon on whether there will be a phased rollout of miniTV. 

According to the company, miniTV will host non-exclusive aggregated content and include curated content from productions like The Viral Fever and Pocket Aces, and individual creators like Ashish Chanchalani, Akash Gupta and Sejal Kumar, among others. 

Now many of these content creators already have their channels on YouTube and also publish reels on Instagram so it would be interesting to note how much of it will become sticky for Amazon’s app users. 

Amazon now has two separate video streaming services in India in miniTV and its subscription video-on-demand service Prime Video. Unlike Amazon’s Prime Video service, however, miniTV is ad-supported, will not have exclusive content, and misses out on live TV and Alexa integration. 

With this, the Amazon shopping app inches closer towards being a super app of sorts where users can shop, watch content and make payments. 

While it will be interesting to see how this idea fares for Amazon, in general, the concept of super apps hasn’t really caught on in India. Companies like Paytm, Ola and Zomato, among others have experimented with the concept in the past but haven’t had much success with it.  

Flipkart and Paytm have also entered the video content space in the past. However, Paytm isn’t betting on it anymore because of the discouraging response. 

Amazon’s closest competitor Flipkart also entered the content aggregation segment in 2019 but yet to make a dent. Recently, the Walmart-backed company had tied up with Sikhya Entertainment to launch the first original series “Kaun? Who did it?”.

We reached out to Amazon to understand the rationale behind launching a free but ad-supported video streaming service, how it plans to distinguish miniTV from Prime Video, and whether with miniTV Amazon is aiming at ramping up its active user base, or its revenues, or both.

However, Amazon declined to comment on our queries. 

Amazon’s latest video streaming service comes months after the government notified rules for over the top video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. 

The rules increase the government’s remote control over such services and subjects them to a three-tiered regulatory approach which includes self-regulation and government oversight as two of the tiers. 

The rules also mandate video streaming services to accept complaints from viewers through a designated grievance redressal officer, who is required to process the complaint and decide on the complaints within 15 days. 

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