Why it won't be easy for Apple TV+ to enter Indian living rooms
The announcement of a cheaper Apple TV+ subscription -- Rs 99 per month in India -- has left the over-the-top (OTT) players a bit concerned but unless Apple strengthens its device ecosystem in the country, the real threat to players like Netflix, Amazon Prime or even the domestic players is still not there.
The announcement of a cheaper Apple TV+ subscription -- Rs 99 per month in India -- has left the over-the-top (OTT) players a bit concerned but unless Apple strengthens its device ecosystem in the country, the real threat to players like Netflix, Amazon Prime or even the domestic players is still not there. The original content streaming from Apple TV+ currently offers nine originals from the world`s most celebrated creative artists that will debut on the Apple TV app on November 1. Apart from its own devices like iPhones, iPads and Macs, Apple will make the TV+ streaming available (via Apple TV app) on select Samsung smart TVs and Amazon Fire TV, LG and Sony platforms soon.
In order to make deeper inroads into the Indian living rooms, Apple needs to sells more devices and create more desi content to bring in more people into its ecosystem so that they can enjoy Apple TV+. The Indian entertainment scene is witnessing a seismic change with 30 over-the-top (OTT) platforms vying for space as players look to differentiate themselves, says a new KPMG report, adding that players like Netflix and Amazon Prime are aiming to create more desi content to bring more users to their platforms.
Massive capital commitments have been made by OTT platforms for building libraries of diverse original content over the last couple of years for the Indian audience. Indian language internet users are expected to grow to 536 million by 2021 from 234 million in 2016. As nine out of 10 new Internet users in India are likely to be Indian language users, it is vital for OTT players to cater to this audience in their native language, says the KPMG report, titled "India`s Digital Future: Mass of niches".
Many OTT players are also investing in building their regional content libraries to match the demand. For example, Prime Video has dubbed popular Hindi originals like "Inside Edge" and "Breathe" to Tamil and Telugu. In addition to originals, Prime Video has also tried to increase depth in their regional library by dubbing English movies like "Alpa", "Rampage", etc. to Tamil and Telugu.
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Similarly, Hotstar has used dubbing to launch the Hindi web-series "Criminal Justice" in six regional languages - Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bangla, Malayalam and Marathi. "OTT players like Netflix and Amazon prime have started hiring writers to add contextual flavour to dialogues in English in addition to launching regional web series," said the report.
Much of the video viewing in India is happening in a local language and YouTube, which has 265 million unique, active users has reported that over 95 per cent of its users watched videos in a regional language. In India, the over-the-top (OTT) leader Netflix plans to invest Rs 600 crore per year in originals whereas Amazon Prime had committed Rs 223 crore in 2017 for the next 2-3 years in the country. For some original series, Amazon and Netflix are spending in the range of Rs 1-2 crore per episode.
For example, per episode cost of original series, including `Made in Heaven` and `Mirzapur` on Amazon Prime was between Rs 1 crore-Rs 2 crore. Apple, on the other hand, has reportedly planned to spend $6 billion on creating original content but mostly in English as of now as its fight is more domestic -- like taking on Disney that is likely to unveil Disney+ service on November 12. Apple TV+ will be available from November 1 in over 100 countries, including in India. It will be available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac and other platforms, including online at tv.apple.com.
Customers who purchase new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch or Mac can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free.
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