Prime Video’s Kelly Day, Gaurav Gandhi Break Down Asia Growth Plans


Prime Video is bullish about the large, diverse and volatile Asian streaming market, driven by growth in India and Japan, the streamer’s top executives responsible for the region have said.

The region’s online video component, excluding China, where international streamers cannot be present, is projected to grow at 9.2%, to reach $46 billion by 2028, according to a study from research and consultancy firm Media Partners Asia. The study valued the total video market in Japan at $32 billion, the second largest market in Asia after China. Prime Video is the market leader in the Japanese streaming space.

Gaurav Gandhi, VP, APAC and MENA at Prime Video told Variety, “In Japan we are a very large and interesting business… a combination of licensed as well as originals, we’re doing much more unscripted.” Gandhi provides the example of the “LOL” format that originated from Japan and is franchised around the world. “We’re looking at big manga animation IP and how that can become bigger as well,” Gandhi said. There has been recent success in manga live action as well, with the success of “The Silent Service” leading to the commissioning of a sequel. Gandhi added that sports is a growth area, as well as local broadcasters signing on to Prime Video’s Channels service. “From a Japan point of view, we are looking at a multitude of categories because we are a much more mature business,” Gandhi said, “There’s so much more opportunity there.”

From the $12 billion Korea market, Prime Video is looking at content that works around the world, with Gandhi citing the success of series “Marry My Husband.” It is a different story in Southeast Asia, where recent data from Media Partners Asia shows that the region – that includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – added only 1.3 million net new SVOD subscribers in 2023, compared with 11 million in 2022. But subscription revenues grew at 12.5% to $1.4 billion.

Here, the Prime Video model has changed from one based on original productions to one focused instead on licensing. “We have moved to a slightly different model of content sourcing in Southeast Asia, we’re relying much more on deep licensing, working with partners, we have a few originals coming up in those territories. But I think we are looking at a more license-skewed approach from there, because also our Japanese anime, Korean content, even Indian content work really well in these territories,” Gandhi said.

“We’re also relatively early in Southeast Asia. When you’re very early going into a new locale, it’s important to be able to test the waters with a variety of different content. And doing more acquisitions gives us the opportunity to really test and learn, as we start to scale up,” Kelly Day, VP Prime Video International, told Variety. “I imagine at some point, we’ll probably do more originals. But right now, we really like the opportunity to be able to test and learn through a variety of different acquisitions.”

There are currently no immediate plans for Greater China nor India’s South Asian neighbors, but opportunities have been identified, Gandhi said.

Day and Gandhi were speaking with Variety at the launch of the 2024 Prime Video India slate in Mumbai earlier this week, where a gargantuan 69 titles, including 40 new and returning originals, were unveiled. The India market is worth $13 billion, per the Media Partners Asia study.

“There’s only a few really big locales outside the U.S. that are driving significant growth. And India is at the top of that list. So India at this point, is the number one country in terms of driving new Prime starts outside of the U.S. right now, which has just been incredible to see,” Day said. “Prime Video is incredibly popular within India. The overwhelming majority of Prime customers are streaming and watching Prime Video, it’s actually the most popular benefit here, which is also absolutely amazing to see. India’s just been an incredible success story for us.”

“India’s our largest market in terms of producing original series and films,” Day added. “That’s really been the engine that’s been driving it as people really love our shows, and they love our movies.” Besides the originals and licensed films Gandhi points to the success of the streamer’s Channels bouquet, the TVOD business and the deep penetration of the service into the country, something that India country head Sushant Sreeram is similarly bullish about.

Sports, particularly cricket, is a massive subscriber driver in India as evidenced by the $6.2 billion price tag for the lucrative Indian Premier League tournament split between then rivals and now merging partners Viacom18 and Disney Star. Prime Video has exclusive rights to broadcast all international cricket matches to be played against New Zealand Cricket teams.

“We really look at it pretty opportunistically, meaning that the rights cycles only come up every few years. And so, to some extent, you’re beholden to when the rights become available,” Day said. “Now, clearly, rights continue to escalate. And we’ve certainly seen that with cricket here in India. But we do have some live sports on the surface right now. And it’s something that we’ll just continue to look at as they come up, I mean, we really like it, we know our customers love it. There’s almost nothing like it, fans of sports, they will turn up and turn out for every single match. And so, we’re always happy to take the rights when we think it makes sense.”

Gandhi says the service has watched the success of sports aggregator FanCode, available on Prime Video’s Channels service, and says that it is evaluating deals with other partners who want to distribute via the platform.

With more than 1.44 billion people, India is the most populous country on the planet, with some 600 million of them falling within the 18-35 age group. Prime Video has seen this as a growth opportunity and a significant chunk of its 2024 originals slate is catering to the young adult demographic. Day says that Prime Video titles like “The Summer I Turned Pretty” and “Red, White & Royal Blue,” based on popular YA IP, “blew away” the streamer’s expectations and were driven by “passionate audiences on social media.”

“The success that we’ve had with some of those big global titles has really given us a lot of conviction and a lot of confidence that we can start investing in more young adult programming in some of our local programming as well,” Day said. “India is such a young country, such a huge population of young adults, and so much rich IP to draw from here, that it seems like the perfect place for us to continue to make that investment.” Gandhi added that the service wanted to dispel the myth that the demographic doesn’t pay for content and says that Amazon plans to invest in the segment for both the paid Prime Video and Indian AVOD service miniTV “on a continuous basis.”

“That’s the spirit of what we try to do here, this is a very entrepreneurial team. And we’re always willing to try new things and put it out there,” Day said.



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