Over-the-top (OTT) streaming services have been gaining traction in India. Accessible easily through streaming dongles and smart TVs, the aggressive subscription of streaming services along with affordable mobile data and broadband plans have contributed to the growth of the OTT market in the country. One of the leading players Amazon has been bullish on this space. It has been offering hardware that brings consumers closer to streaming platform without restricting them to its own Prime Video. In conversation with Business Today, Parag Gupta, Head of Amazon Devices India, talks about bringing Fire TV Edition Smart TVs in India.
BT: Fire TV Edition smart TVs have been available in the US for over a year now. What took Amazon so long to bring this to India?
Parag Gupta: We introduce new products when they're ready to delight customers. We are excited to introduce the Onida Fire TV Edition smart TVs that are designed with Indian customers in mind and are made in India. Several aspects of customer experience are tuned to deliver a delightful experience - we thoughtfully integrated content from Prime Video, Hotstar and Netflix to enable unified search. We optimised Alexa on the Fire TV for Indian customers and searches by genre, actor, regional movies and much more. We can't wait to hear what our customers in India think about Onida Fire TV Edition.
BT: What is the idea behind launching FireTV Edition smart TVs in India? How do you plan to scale this model?
We continue to see tremendous momentum for Fire TV stick with millions of customers enjoying their favourite content from all popular sources - Prime Video, Netflix, Hotstar, Zee5, SonyLiv and Youtube. With the new Onida Fire TV Edition smart TVs, we are foraying into an entirely new category for Amazon to give customers even greater choice. With the Fire TV experience built-in, the Onida Fire TV Edition delivers the same FTV experience. Customers can also use Alexa to find their favourite content, control playback as well as switch input control by just using their voice. Now customers have a choice to either add the Fire TV experience to their existing TV with the add-on Fire TV Stick or with embedded Onida Fire TV Edition.
BT: At the moment, most of manufacturers are opting for Android TV OS. How do you intend to take on the competition?
The Amazon Fire TV Edition experience offers a compelling option for hardware manufacturers seeking to deliver a unified smart TV experience that simplifies TV viewing, offers access to a wide selection of popular streaming content, and provides exclusive features such as voice-enabled program discovery and control powered by Alexa. With Fire TV Edition, hardware manufacturers have access to the latest over-the-air software experience from Amazon. Our catalogue integration with popular apps like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hotstar and Zee5 make all your content easily discoverable through voice. Alexa comes integrated into Fire TV Edition and that means customers can use the Alexa voice remote not only for content search and playback control, but also to switch inputs, ask for sports scores, weather, information, control smart lights and ACs. Finally, pair it with any Echo device for a complete hands-free experience - the future is here already with Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Edition TVs.
BT: Other than Onida, which all brands are you in talks with for the built-in Fire TV Experience?
We are always looking to expand our Fire TV offerings and provide the best selection for our customers, but I have nothing more to share at this time.
BT: What kind of market share do you intend to acquire with your Prime Video and Fire TV offerings in the Indian market?
Our focus is to provide the best possible TV viewing and content discovery experience to our customers. We are seeing tremendous momentum with Amazon Fire TV and it is the #1 streaming media player family in the country. Our customers love our products, as is evident from the four-star rating on Amazon.in.
BT: Has the availability of Prime Video app on Android TVs and support for Chromecast affected sales of the FireTV Stick?
We believe it is important to give customers a choice. The Fire TV experience delivers on the same belief. It is important to give customers the Fire TV experience in the device they choose. A first time TV buyer may consider the Onida Fire TV Edition while someone could opt the Fire TV Stick 4K with the Alexa Voice Remote to begin their streaming experience on their existing TV. Within this experience, we focus even more on offering customers a frictionless way to instantly discover their favourite content with just voice.
BT: Where does India stand when it comes to Fire TV and Prime Video adoption as compared to the global markets?
We launched Fire TV in India in April 2017 and it is already one of the fastest growing geographies for Fire TV at Amazon. Fire TV changed the way Indian customers consumed their entertainment by moving all the action right into their living rooms. With hundreds of OTT services now available, today it is the #1 streaming media player in India. We have sold millions of Fire TV Stick devices in India to customers across 75 per cent of India's pin codes. Fire TV customers in India are streaming their favourite content for more than two hours every day and interestingly two-third (66 per cent) of the viewership is in Indian language (non-English) content.