Kannada content in video-streaming space grows

Competition hots up

Kannada entertainment content is now making a big splash in the internet-based On-Demand Video-Streaming space, growing at an explosive pace. Just when Hotstar, Netflix and other big players are edging out schedule-based traditional television content, Kannada has broken fresh ground with Amazon Prime Video.

Kannada entertainment content is now making a big splash in the internet-based On-Demand Video-Streaming space, growing at an explosive pace. Just when Hotstar, Netflix and other big players are edging out schedule-based traditional television content, Kannada has broken fresh ground with Amazon Prime Video.

On Kannada Rajyotsava, Amazon’s video-streaming service launched its Kannada Movies library, making it a key driver in an expanded regional content portfolio. Kannada became the sixth Indian language content on the service after Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali and Hindi.

Prime subscribers could now get access to popular Kannada film titles, including latest theatrical releases, and hit movies from recent years. Here’s what’s in store to stream: recently released films such as ‘Sankashta Hara Ganapathi,’ ‘Vardhana’ and ‘Andhagaara.’ Prime Video has also acquired the digital rights for upcoming films ‘Avane Srimannarayana’ and ‘Orange’.

Before the formal Kannada content launch, Prime Video had premiered the comedy, ‘Humble Politician Nograj’. Actor and producer Rakshit Shetty’s ‘Katheyondu Shuruvagide’ had its worldwide digital premiere on the same platform.

The thrust on Kannada and other vernacular content indicates a definite shift from English to regional entertainment to drive a sustainable video-streaming traffic. Netflix, too, had started sampling Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam and other regional films. Acclaimed Kannada film ‘Thithi’ was among them.

The entry of cheap broadband services could further push video-streaming services, say industry watchers. The data price crash sparked by Jio had revolutionised consumption of videos on the mobile screens, and this could now shift to the net-connected, WiFi-enabled Smart TV screens. A shift from English to vernacular content would mean the battle for eyeballs will shift to small towns and cities.

India’s video-streaming market clocked a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22.6%, as reported by audit and consultancy firm PwC. This is expected to propel the sector to be among the top 10 video-streaming markets globally by 2022, with estimated revenues of Rs 5,595 crore.

So, will this growth trigger competition among the video-streaming biggies? Industry watchers say the current domination of Star India’s Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video could be challenged by Netflix. Although Netflix is currently the most expensive with monthly plans of Rs 500 and Rs 650, a price cut could be in the offing.

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