Amazon Video is very close to its launch in India and if we believe the market rumors, it will launch in India just after Diwali (around 9th Nov).
Amazon is very aggressively pushing the launch as this service will set them apart from the other retail e-commerce sites.
Not only they are trying to separate themselves from e-commerce sites, they are trying to compete with other streaming services also.
Hotstar and Netflix are two major streaming services available in India along with Eros Now, Spool, Wync from Airtel etc.
Netflix came to India at the start of 2016. This was one of the most anticipated launch for the binge watchers as it’s one of the best services across the world.
Netflix decided to stick with their pricing strategy and introduced the same plans as other countries, which means you will pay 450 Rs/pm for a SD streaming, 650 Rs/pm for 2 HD screen and 800 Rs/pm for 4 HD screen.
This will make sense if they would have offered the same content as other countries but their library in India is very limited and does not offer much of the regional content.
I have tried their service for almost three months. They shines in terms of their app quality, recommendations and Netflix Originals. They have a very good collection of Netflix Originals and it is available for streaming from day 1.
If you like to watch latest TV Shows, Netflix is not the platform you are looking for. Here again, if its Netflix Originals, you will get them streaming right away otherwise they take long time to come.
App quality and recommendation engine is a supportive act for the content and can not become primary benefit. Its the content where they loose in India, though they are trying to invest in there.
The only reason to go with Netflix is Netflix Originals. So if you enjoy shows like Marvel’s Luke Cage, Jessica Jones or Orange is the New Black, Netflix can be a streaming service for you.
Hotstar is another streaming service which has presence on almost all major platform. I have used their premium service for almost two months.
Hotstar is a streaming service from Star group, so their regional content is limited to their group of channels. If you watch most of the TV shows from Star group, you will appreciate their content library.
They also have a good library of regional movies. Most of the movies will be streamed on Hotstar before their TV premiere.
Hotstar has a good presence for English Content also. Decent library of English movies and now they have agreement with HBO to stream their content.
You can catch the latest episodes of shows like Westworld, This is US, Game of Thrones, Homeland etc. Latest episodes will be available within an hour of being aired.
They also own Star Sports channels, which means you will get to live stream the sports airing on those channels.
They win on the content availability but the frustration starts with the app quality. Its a new setup and its improving but I have had a lot of problem in terms of streaming premium content.
Their apps on Android and iOS is decent, have few bugs but more or less they work as desired. Their is no recommendation engine, so you have to find the content you want to watch.
I mostly use my Apple TV to stream the content and that’s where they fail. Apple TV app works fine as long as it free content, as soon as you try to stream premium content it will fail.
I have even tried to contact their help desk, who suggested that my internet traffic is coming from outside country and they cited it as a primary reason for the issues.
They closed the case, without even waiting for my response. The issue is that I use Google public DNS servers rather than my ISP’s. So it gives an impression that the traffic is getting routed from outside of the country.
But I never had an issue with that, I have used other services and they are able to understand this setup. I have also reverted it back to ISP provided DNS server and it has not changed anything.
In fact their own app on Android and iOS does not show any issue, only Apple TV app has a problem.
But if you are looking for a good balanced content between regional and English, Hotstar win it by far at this time. They are improving on the app quality and hopefully it will improve with time.
Amazon is coming into the market and looks like they are approaching it as a regional venture.
They have already announced some of the exclusive deals with many regional content provides like Dharma Production, T-Series, Vishesh Films etc.
So at the launch they are going to have a good amount of regional movies available and some of the exclusive movies streaming rights for the upcoming movies.
They will stream upcoming movies ahead of their TV premiere and with in 2-3 weeks of its release.
Amazon has also started looking into investing into regional content and already announced an animation series based on Bahubali.
They have also signed a deal with regional animation production house to provide content for the kids. So the famous shows like Motu Patlu, Chota Bheem etc. will be available on Amazon Video.
We still have to see their content library for english movies and US TV shows. But they should have decent collection available.
They also offer Amazon Originals which are not as enticing as Netflix Originals but have some good award winning shows like Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, The Man in the High Castle and Tumble Leaf.
The app quality and platform availability should not be an issue for them as they already offer these services in other regions.
The major differentiator will be their price point. Netflix costs around 7500 Rs. per year, Hotstar is 2400 Rs. per year, Amazon is looking to beat them all with the price point of 1000 Rs. per year.
They are offering an initial discounted offer of 500 Rs per year for the initial adopters.
Also they will offer the other benefit on Amazon shipping with this offer, so you will enjoy free deliveries on most of your purchases.
India is a cost sensitive market and their price point could disrupt the market.
I am eagerly waiting for their launch and already has signed up for the Amazon Prime. If you are looking for a good streaming service and has not decided, you should wait for few more days.