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Amazon video service looking to expand Indian regional content

Reuters  |  MUMBAI 

By Sankalp Phartiyal

(Reuters) - com Inc's video service will look to add more regional content in India, two company executives said, as it competes with a host of global and local players for a bigger share of a fledgling

In little after a year of its launch in India, Amazon's bet on original Hindi shows and a library of films in five local languages has paid off - is the fastest growing market for its service, Tim Leslie, at Prime Video, told in an interview late Saturday, on the sidelines of the Today Conclave 2018 in

Beyond Hindi shows and Bollywood movies, has also been broadening its film catalogue in southern Indian languages such as Tamil and Telugu, said.

"We want to figure out how do we do more in the South," Farrell said. "We haven't announced any originals yet from the South but we are looking to do as much as can be done."

The duo declined to give subscriber numbers, saying they have tens of millions of Prime customers. Prime is the world's largest online retailer's customer loyalty plan that costs an annual 999 rupees ($15) and offers faster deliveries, access to early deals and a subscription to its video and

is key to Amazon's global ambitions. is booming in the South Asian nation and its media and entertainment market is tipped to grow to more than $31 billion in two years, from $22.7 billion in 2017.

Cheap data has spurred the rise of usage in India, the world's fastest growing web services market, and turned it into a battleground for content wars between global giants such as and as they look for growth beyond a saturated U.S. home market.

Other prominent players include Twenty-First Century Fox-backed Hotstar, which exclusively streams HBO's hit "Game of Thrones" show in India; Voot, a joint venture between and U.S. peer Viacom Inc; SonyLIV from Japan's Sony Corp; Zee Entertainment's and production house Balaji's ALTBalaji.

Asked if Amazon could begin streaming cricket in India, a country of 1.2 billion people famously obsessed with the sport, the executives said they were looking at sports content opportunities globally.

"It's day one in sports for us and we're getting involved in it," Leslie said, adding the company had begun streaming U.S. football games globally and was striking deals for sports such as tennis. Amazon does not stream sports in India currently.

Last year, agreed to pay 163.48 billion rupees ($2.5 billion) for the television and digital rights of (IPL) cricket for five years. Bidders for digital rights included Facebook Inc.

($1 = 65.1200 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Mark Potter)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 12 2018. 12:18 IST