Customer experience key to Amazon Prime Video’s success: Nitesh Kripalani
Nitesh Kripalani, Director and Country Head, Amazon Video India; Tim Leslie, Vice President, Amazon Digital Video International at Amazon.com; and James Farrell, Content Head - Asia Pacific, Amazon Prime speak to Adgully about Amazon Prime Video’s foray into the Indian market, the strong regional focus, marketing and revenue strategy and much more. Excerpts:
What are your promotion plans for Amazon Prime Video?
We believe Amazon Prime Video is a great, interesting service. We have a great customer base on amazon.in, we also have an existing Amazon Prime customer base. We will also invest in building awareness of the Prime Video and will be coming out with a campaign in a few weeks.
On entering the market late.
You need to focus on the entire customer experience; there are three things here – a great selection (content, multiple languages, etc.), a reliable service, convenient access and great value for customers. So, I think the time for us to enter the market is now.
On the regional market space.
We don’t call it regional, but I would say Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi. We are working with the best filmmakers there. We are getting early window content from there. Some of the blockbusters of 2016 like ‘Kaashmora’ and ‘Kabaali’ will be exclusively available on Amazon Prime Video. In regional, we have tied up with SPF, in Marathi we have tied up with Everest as well, we believe those markets are important, the customers are the same, they are looking for a wide selection and latest and exclusives, that’s what we will do in those markets as well.
How are you planning to roll out these episodes?
We have tried different models in the US, we have tried the Grand Tour is every Friday , in India for the first time all the shows which we have got are straight from production. We haven’t yet thought about how we want to release it, we will take the call when we are ready to go and we will of course look for customers, what they want, the anticipation for the show.
Are you mainly focusing on digital marketing?
We will focus on marketing channels that matters, we believe our customers will be aware of the service that will drive them to action and try our content by free trials, there are of course learnings from our retail business that we also look at. Customers can access content from three different devices at a time and it is also available on some of the popular versions smart TVs.
Avenues of revenue, going forward?
At Amazon we think long term. We invest in customer experience, we invest for the future. Like Amit was saying, he and I started like three and a half years ago to look that what we are really right now, we really believe on focusing what really matters to customers and in video it’s the same as retail, we are focused on three things - width of the selection, experience, the reliable service, playback, data consumption, and the value- that’s what really drives the business and we intend to keep the best local selection that the customers want as wide as possible, no genre really matters we believe making sure video playback is awesome across devices. And thereby, changing the way people consume content – that’s the goal.
What kind of disruption are you aiming to create in the video consumption pattern in India?
We don’t look to create disruption in the entertainment space, what we look to do is listen to our customers and what they want. So, what we have found, there is a customer revolution in a way people watch content in India, that’s happened in the US and the UK, it’s now happened in Germany. It’s starting to happen in Japan, another country where people watch free TV, and run through all the DVDs. But we have our Prime customers there for Prime Video. So te customers revolution is that why we bound to watching the show that you want to watch on a certain day, at a time, wherever and whenever you want to watch. That’s really important for customers and what Amazon is about is what customers choice- they want to watch that way, so we provide it to them. The customer is creating revolution and Amazon needs the customer need. The other equip that’s really important for our content creators is that they no longer have to find a large audience on TV in a time slot to watch a show; they can make the ambitious shows that they want to make, great stories, create the ground-breaking content and find their audience who can watch anytime, anywhere.
How do you perceive Netflix and Hotstar as a competition in India?
What I perceive, our Indian customers who want to watch great TV shows and movies, add a great value and that’s what we are providing it to them. So, we think Prime has the best value in India. For Rs 499 a year, you get Free Shipping and allowance of products and unlimited viewing experience. W are looking at providing compelling content to our customers. So, today what we are announcing is thriving, compelling, fully licensed Movies and TV shows, a lot of that is really a window before its TV, at the same time its TV. We are also making our original content and bringing in foreign content shows that who appear for the first time in India on our service. So we want to provide compelling content that you can only find n Prime video and we will consider any content that is compelling to customers and obviously sports is a compelling category for customers, so we will consider that as well and any other content that customers tell us that interests them.
Is Amazon also focusing on providing catch ups of TV shows with certain tie-ups with the broadcasters?
We will definitely consider any option. We have done that in Japan and oter countries where you can find that content, what we have also done is linear TV programming. So we look at all different ways to provide compelling content to our customers and the sooner we can provide it to them, the better.
Key learnings from other markets that you look to or are implementing in India.
Well we have learned a lot since past 10 years. There are lots of innovations that we are going to make in the Shipping product. We are just getting started with our shipping programming in India and it is going to be better and better. It will cover broader coverage, more shipping options wth return. We have also learnt that Prime customers want more benefits, so more benefits we provide, more benefits that they use, the better customers they are and more they shop from our us. So, we will continue to innovate for our Prime customers. The other thing that we have learnt, not a shocker, is that customers like a good value, so you have to provide all of these at a good value.
Any plans to bring Fire TV to India?
We are always to looking to pure customer needs. We think Fire TV is a great device. We have expanded its footprint and we have it in Japan since last year. We will continue to bring that to other customers for our customers in India. Today we are focussed on the launch of Amazon Prime video.
When are the original programs slated to release on Amazon Prime Video?
Next year, in 2017. We also have more announcements about it to make in next month.
We have all those options on the site amazon.in. We also have Cash-On-Delivery for our product which is unque to prime video. But we will continue to innovate with the payment options not just for Prime but also for amazon.in.
We saw variety of content today on Amazon Prime, so how are you strategizing or aiming to the content be a game changer in India?
We have seen that the prime shipping and the videos works a lot together. So, the countries we have strongest businesses as in Amazon is where we have both really well. So, we talked about how the Amazon e-commerce business going so nicely, so we partnered with them for great video service, where we will have a lot people who come to shop to set them have for last three years. So now the prime members, they can just start streaming the videos with no extra cost and it's really great for them. So they are happy with Amazon, I am sure. Another thing, there are prime members from before but they say that they don't watch videos at prime, so they sign up with prime video benefits and they start using shopping services more. That works really well together, that's what I think.
What will be focusing Market?
India is our main market. But other than India, what I have seen is the country Prime video works strong is the where Prime shipping services. And the prime shipping services are best in countries like France, Spain, Italy. As of today, all the customers there have prime video facilities included with the facilities. I think those will be successful market because they will have the combination facility prime service and prime video both.
Globally Amazon and Netflix seemed to be involved in an intense war. Do you see a replication of same in India?
James Farrell: unfortunately, I don't really know about the strategizing. I don't really know what they are thinking. But, we are figuring out what kind of programming we would have, we did the research on customers what they want, they want movies, they want kids content and the next expectation they will have greater vision of content, unique Amazon. We will have licensed content, those are the three things we are really focusing on.
Amazon is in talks on acquiring IPL streaming rights.
We ask questions, IPL is coming should we stream it. We talk to people, take their feedback. We will see how many people watch it, how the advertisers will come for the content and then we will take the decision.
How are you introducing the customization for more diverse india market?
The best way we will customize it by giving what our consumers want. The movies, kid content and the plan for original content. And every time I will go on social media to read their comments which will read, wow just keep bringing better and better content. That's how we will customize.