What Indians watched, read, and listened to on Amazon Prime in 2018

Binge watching.
Binge watching.
Image: Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne
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Amazon’s focus on original Indian content seems to be doing wonders for the e-commerce giant, not just locally but even in the US.

In India, original Hindi-language series like Mirzapur, Comicstaan, and Breathe were binged the most by users of the company’s video-streaming platform, Amazon Prime Video, according to a company release.

Its first Hindi Prime Original show Inside Edge, based on a fictitious T20 cricket team, became the first Indian show from the video-streaming industry to be nominated for the 2018 International Emmy Awards.

Over the last couple of years, American video-streaming platforms like Prime Video and Netflix have gone all out to produce original content in India. While this content goes a long way in helping them attract eyeballs in India, they also find a huge global audience. For instance, two out of three viewers for Netflix’s Hindi original series Sacred Games were from outside India.

“Netflix and Amazon have to invest a lot in content acquisition to appeal to the Indian audience,” Karan Sabharwal, an independent researcher, told Quartz. “Amazon Prime Video contains wide options for regional movies and shows on its sites such as the latest Hindi movies. Netflix, on the other hand, serves to the Indian independent filmmakers which may not become great box-office hits but definitely caters to a certain kind of audience.”

But despite all this investment in original content, Amazon Prime Video garnered just a 5% share of the Indian over-the-top market in the first quarter of 2018, while Netflix held only 1.4%. Hotstar was the leading video-streaming app with a 70% share, followed by SonyLiv at 13%.

Beyond videos

Besides video-streaming, Amazon’s Prime subscription extends to a whole lot of other services such as free two-day shipping for orders from e-commerce platform Amazon.in and audio content through Amazon Music.

Here are some other India-specific trends from the services that come bundled with an Amazon Prime subscription in India:

  • Amazon.in: Some of the quickest deliveries with some products being delivered in under five minutes under its Prime Now 2-hour delivery guarantee programme. The OnePlus 6, launched in India in May this year, was the most popular Prime exclusive smartphone.
  • Amazon Music: The most streamed artists in India in 2018 were Arijit Singh and Imagine Dragons. India’s favourite albums in 2018 were from Bollywood movies such as Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, Veere Di Wedding, and Dhadak.
  • Amazon Echo: Shape of You by Ed Shereen was the most requested song in India on the smart speaker this year.
  • Prime Reading: The Immortals of Meluha, part of the Shiva trilogy by Indian author Amish Tripathi, was the most borrowed title on the e-books platform. One Indian Girl, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and Captain Marvel Vol. 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More were the other titles in the top five list of books borrowed in India in 2018.