Thursday 16 May 2019

Amazon says OTT players' focus on original content to drive uptake of Fire TV stick; eyes partnerships

Amazon said that the growing focus on original content by regional and international over-the-top players will help grow the streaming device category and drive uptake of its Fire TV stick. 

It is now actively looking at partnerships with various stakeholders including content players, telecom operators and TV makers to give a push uptake of Fire TV stick in the country, having sold over a million Fire TV Stick devices in India since April 2017. 

“We are looking at those partnerships. We do have eyes on the market and some of the partnerships are in the pipeline,” Parag Gupta, Head – Product & Marketing, Amazon India told ET.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a content streaming device that plugs into an HDTV and lets customers access Prime Video and other over-the-top content services like Netflix, Hotstar.

“We also have content partnerships with various content players. Basis the partnerships, we are able to various on-demand services to the Fire TV stick. That is the channel that has opened up for us. There are always conversations,” he said.
The company’s focus is to build content selection for device users, hence it is agnostic to services like Prime Video, Netflix or Hotstar. “Some of these relationships, the way industry and the channel move will evolve. Our focus is to deliver better experience and selection.”

Gupta said that the trend of original content has picked up in India with major OTTplayers making a significant investment to build the content library.

“All this is good because it increased the selection that people want to watch. That is a very key part of enabling technology like Fire TV to bring that content to bigger screens,” he said.

The improving connectivity infrastructure is also helping in the growth of the device as more people are cutting the cord and switching to streaming services, the executive said.

“On a weekly, consumption of content on the stick is close to 1000 years which roughly translates to a couple of hours a day. A lot of content is being watched and people are cutting the cord,” he said.

Amazon had previously inked several bundling partnerships with telcos like Bharti Airtel and broadband players like ACT Fibernet and Spectra.

Amazon this week joined hands with direct-to-home service operator Tata Sky to launch a new service called Tata Sky Binge. The service will be accessible through the purchase of Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition, to allow users to view content from apps like Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, Sun NXT, Eros NOW, and Hungama Play.

Amazon’s Fire TV stick is the leading device in the market with a commanding market share, Amazon claimed citing IDC research.

Amazon has claimed that the uptake of the device has increased in the country after the launch of the 4K variant. “We have locked in new customers and expanded the overall pie. The 4K stick it is one of the bestselling devices and we expect the trend to continue this year,” he said.

The executive said that the availability of 4K content will help in increasing the uptake of its 4K device going forward. “As a Prime video, we have made a commitment to it that all our original content will be 4K including Indian originals. We are hoping that the rest of the industry takes the same direction,” he said.

Amazon recently brought Alexa integration to Fire TV through the new remote, enabling users to search, browse and control the playback experience on the device.

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