16 May 2022 14:36

MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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Moderator: Karan Johar


Jennifer Salke, Head – Amazon Studios
Kelly Day, VP International, Amazon Prime Video
James Farrell – Head of Local Originals, Amazon Studios
Gaurav Gandhi, Country Head, Amazon Prime Video India
Aparna Purohit, Head India Originals, Amazon Prime Video India

Q1. So, Jennifer, Kelly, and James, welcome back to India. Firstly, how does it feel?

Jennifer: It is wonderful to be back in India. We had visited the country in 2018, with plans to come to India 2-3 times a year. Due to the pandemic, we were unable to do so. It is great to be back with you all.

Q2. Jennifer, Gaurav talked about Prime Video’s five-year journey and the many milestones you have had. Now from what we've seen in India, and what you have done globally so far, what sets Amazon Studios apart?


Jennifer: When we started out, a really important and central philosophy for us was to be the home for talent, one that you can see and feel across the globe. All the incredible shows, all the scenes and all the shows one is going to hear about and the foundation, content on the service, none of it happens without incredible talent and artists who have big imaginations and can execute at the highest level. So being home for talent for us means having the best teams on the ground. In India, we have the very best in Aparna Purohit, who has been able to cultivate that home for talent within regions, to have talent want to be part of the Amazon Prime family and make incredible shows for people to not only enjoy all over India, but all over the world. So, I believe we stand apart in that way and I think it affects our culture, about who we feel like as colleagues and human beings. Amazon is a giant company that feels very small, in so many ways, which I think makes it very special.

Q3. James, I have always been curious about how great storytelling can transcend borders. Tell us is Indian content finding audiences outside Indian shores? Is that truly happening as we speak?


James: Yes, absolutely. One in five of our customers are watching Indian content and doing so outside of India. For instance, I watched Amazon Original Movie Shershaah in the US, and so did a lot of people I know.

What we need to understand here is why is that happening? Why is it traveling so well? I believe there are so many new people around the world and I think it's because they're pretty entertaining. We're getting all this great content from the US and other countries, devices, a lot of good stuff, but what's missing? what stories aren't being told? What can we do that customers are going to love and might be surprised in new ways and kind of what you would see in these last five years

you're seeing like amazing, innovative stuff, and we're going to see more of what's coming up this year now.

So that's one thing. To put it in differently, let’s talk about a title like it is actually one mic stand. It's a great comedy show here and some of our team in Germany watched that show and they believed that the show would be appreciated by audiences in Germany, and so they are making it in Germany and would be launched in a few months. We have a show in Italy bringing a show on Australian real estate. So not only are shows traveling but ideas are starting to travel the world. It is, therefore, a super exciting time for our shows to start going around the world.

Q4. Aparna, we have seen an incredible width and breadth of genres of all the series you've curated and created. Tell us more about how you personally commission content?


Aparna: I truly believe that India is a land of storytellers. We have stories in every nook and cranny and this is such an incredible time. It's almost like revitalization, a renaissance of Indian entertainment. And amidst this multitude of stories, to find that one story that can connect and resonate with the audience not just here, but across the world, that's a challenge. We just want to create a home for talent, a community, a safe space where creators feel supported, where they feel that you're willing to invest in them. For us at Prime Video everything begins with a great story. The question that we ask ourselves constantly is why this story? What is so compelling about this story? What is keeping the creators up at night about this story? Is it truly rooted and entrenched in our soil? And I think that's the starting point. We want to, bring to life the vision of our creators, enable them and empower them.

Finally, I would like to say that my team and I, we call ourselves the story chasers. We will go across the length and breadth of a country to find a good story, and really develop them. I also feel that we do not ever dictate. We never let the creator's vision get diluted. So, we believe in casting for the characters. We have been a platform so many new, talented, emerging independent voices. Almost 50% of our releases have new talent and 70% of our upcoming slate has been talent. We believe we are enablers, the storytelling chasers.

Q5. Kelly, in your role of overseeing Prime Video International, it seems you are all incredibly bullish about India. All streaming services say India is an important geography. Now, I'm curious to know where is placed in your mind with your universe?


Kelly: I believe that the future of global streaming services is really about global expansion and moving much more ambitiously to serving customers in our international markets all over the world. In this regard, India is really leading the way for us. It is one of our fastest growing markets. It represents some of our most engaged consumers. I believe that the success here begins with having such a phenomenal Indian team who have the ability to get into the mind of the local consumer. We try to create an entertainment service that meets the needs of the Indian customer, first and foremost. You have seen some of the incredible announcements of all the things that we are doing, the investments that we are making as well as the new launches and our foray into movie rentals. I think one of the things that is really interesting is that India is truly an innovation hub for us. A great example of that is our Prime Video Mobile Edition (PVME) service. India is the first market where we rolled out a mobile only service for our customers here. PVME has done quite well in the country and we are using that as a launch pad to roll out the mobile edition product in a variety of countries all over the world. Therefore, I really see the opportunity here in India, to continue to innovate, to continue to serve customers, and to continue to learn how we can build on that and expand Prime Video all over the world.

Q6. Jennifer, diversity, equity and inclusion are part of Amazon Studio’s core values. How does this focus translate into action, in the way you are building the slate?


Jennifer: Well, our hunt for talent is defined by being diverse, and it's supportive of women and voices all over the world. Our leaders, Aparna Purohit, James Farrell, Gaurav Gandhi, Kelly Day, and our whole team, we are always mindful of this, it is part of what we do. It is not about checking boxes. It's really about making sure that we are thinking about our customers globally. And locally, our customers are incredibly diverse. They're incredibly diverse across India. And to do so, how do we reach the talent that can speak to those audiences, as they do not come in a one size checkbox for you to order. They are artists with voices and stories, stories that Aparna and her team are constantly chasing and nurturing as those same stories move on through the pipeline. They are finding those stories and finding the voices, women, and new voices. In fact, almost half of our upcoming content announced today comes from female producers and executive producers and almost 30% of the directors of those projects are all women, which we are incredibly proud of. It is a fire force of passionate women who are out there following Aparna’s lead and chasing stories all over the world. So, it really starts at the top. It's how we live, it's our culture, and it's incredibly meaningful to us and always has been for me personally.

Aparna: I just like to add, I completely echo with everything that Jennifer has said and look at the stage, isn't it absolutely amazing, equal representation. I really believe that and I feel actually really fortunate to be in a company that does not just encourage but value the contribution of women and other diverse groups. And I sincerely believe that diversity, equity and inclusion is not just required, it is essential, it's par for the course really. In fact, I just wanted to share that in March this year, we launched this interesting initiative called Maitri: the Female First Collective, a safe space for women in media, to come together to talk about the challenges, to share their successes, and just hold each other's hand and to unlock the challenges that the new ones are facing and keep the doors open.

Jennifer: Also, I would like to add that many of the producers we have are very prolific producers on our slate and our current slate and the new slate. They are also developing female powerhouses underneath them who have gone on to become executive producers of our shows.

Q7. Kelly, in India, like the rest of the world, entertainment is a highly competitive market, with lots of content available across many, many different services. What would you say makes Prime Video stand out?


Kelly: I think that the thing that really attracted me to come to Prime Video and take this role is that we have such an incredible opportunity to deliver a really scale, but at the same time, unique and very local experience for our customers all over the world. Here in India, it's really a multi-pronged strategy. First, we're programming in over 10 languages. It has to be a truly locally relevant experience, to make sure that we are really meeting the needs of our customer. Our Indian originals are doing incredibly well with a whole new slate of them being announced today. So, our content is really resonating with our consumers. We have redefined movies. We're doing direct to streaming here in the country in addition to all the licensed titles that we bring in from around the world. I mentioned earlier about the mobile edition product so we are continuing to innovate for a mobile-first consumer, investing in it to make it very easy for people to access Prime Video on whatever device they want. Finally, our live sports offering – that I believe we are uniquely positioned to be able to bring to our customers, in addition to all the great local content, local content that we are producing. Cricket is obviously incredibly well loved here in India and we are excited to be able to deliver cricket to our customers here too. So, we are just at the beginning. Over the next five years, our plan in India is to double the investment that we just made. We consider India to be one of our most strategic markets and we are going to continue investing in a truly differentiated service here.

Q8: Gaurav, you briefed us in your address earlier, on Prime Video’s entry into original movies. Now you made some big movies by launching over 50 movies, you made a big boost by launching over 50 movies directly on the service over the last three years. You also have co-production with Ram Setu, which releases on Diwali, how are you thinking about programming movies?


Gaurav Gandhi: When we started, we realized that, we all as Indians love movies. They love everything our creators created and one of the challenges we had was the fact that we are an underscreened country. Only 9000 screens are available for 2000 movies that are made every year across languages. We saw the opportunity to fill this whitespace and get more customers to see movies in the early window of a release by entering into licensing agreements with partners such as production houses, amongst others from the film industry. During the pandemic, we were able to expand on this opportunity when movie theaters were shut and we had movies awaiting their theatrical releases. This was the time we entered into further collaborations with filmmakers, etc. and released 58 shows in less than 20 months, across six languages. The customer reach for these movies was phenomenal not only across India, but also across the world. We realized the fact that we can play a very important role in getting the films to the customers. We are taking one step forward there with original films now which we are announcing today, and of course, expanding on co-productions such as Ram Setu, amongst others. With our launch of our movie rental service, I believe it is one more way for customers to consume content besides joining Prime so I think this way we are fueling the creative economy, by playing a role so that everybody can make more movies and content for our customers.

Dedicating the channel #MaaiKeNaam – a rare-seen milestone set on 8 May

Taking a never-seen-before stance in the category, ZEE Biskope creates its alter ego ZEE Maaiskope dedicating it to the epitome of Indian ethos – the Mother!

Graced by Bhojpuri superstar Chintu Pandey along with his mother, ZEE Biskope unveiled its Mother's Day Initiative at a press meet on April 29

We all hold huge value for the bond we share with our Mother. The emotional association with them is not just strong but deep rooted. The love for Mother in the Bhojpuri region extends even to the ethos of its culture and rituals where worshiping the Mother Goddess Chhati Maaiya is of immense significance. Mother-son or Mother-daughter relationships have also been prominent themes in Bhojpuri movies. Like movies depict the world to us, it’s our mothers who show us the world making it more meaningful.

She is the one to cook for all but eat last at home. She is the one who does not even have a weekend off. She is the one who will fast and make delicacies for everyone to feast during a festival. She gives so much to us. However, have we ever reflected on what are we giving back to her? ZEE Biskope decided to give back to the epitome of Indian ethos… The Mother!

ZEE Biskope elevates this Mother’s Day to acknowledge and honour Mothers for their untiring contributions to our lives. The brand dedicates the day to the one who locks her dreams to fulfil ours, to the one who loves us unconditionally without expecting to be loved and to the one who grinds through the challenges of life with a smiling face only to ensure our well-being. The brand invites all to dedicate this Mother’s Day #MaaiKeNaam (in the name of Mother). The channel stems this initiative into three verticals: Channel #MaaiKeNaam, Maai Ke Din #MaaiKeNaam & Maai Ke Movie #MaaiKeNaam.

In a category first stance under the #MaaiKeNaam initiative, ZEE Biskope will mark an iconic milestone on Mother’s Day by dedicating the channel #MaaiKeNaam. It creates ZEE Maaiskope – a gesture to place Mother at a pedestal of love, reverence & gravitas. Mother’s Day is an occasion that goes beyond mere tokenism or trend-jacking. The brand intends to take an impactful route that strike the right chord of acknowledging the contributions of a Mother and thereby inspiring the viewers and other stakeholder groups to propagate this thought further.

Mothers are always on duty. Whatever be the occasion, she is always in the backdrop ensuring a fun time for her children & family. While we can’t compensate for the unconditional contributions that a mother extends to her children and family, we can at least appreciate her love and efforts by giving her a day off that she so well-deserves. ZEE Biskope invites viewers to dedicate Maai Ke Din #MaaiKeNaam. Viewers can share videos on how they plan to contribute to their mother’s responsibilities this Mother’s Day such that she can enjoy a day-off. The top 3 mother-son/ daughter duo will be invited to Mumbai for a gratifying experience where the mother becomes the focus for the day. She will get a grooming session, fine dining experience, feature on ZEE Biskope and also a tour of the city of dreams. While all this while it has been the mother gratifying her children, its now her children who can earn the gratification for their mothers by just a small gesture of giving her a day off.

If you think that’s it, you are mistaken. ZEE Biskope takes yet another category first initiative – Maai Ke Movie #MaaiKeNaam. All this while, the channel has been curating movie festival with its sharp consumer understanding. However, this time, the brand invites the viewers to curate a movie festival that their mothers can enjoy on Mother’s Day. The channel will share a list of mother-themed movies which the viewers can vote for as per their Mother’s choice. The top 3 voted movies will be set as the line-up for the Mother’s Day festival. It will be a content offering for the Mothers curated by their sons/daughters.

Samrat Ghosh, Chief Cluster Officer, East, ZEEL said, “ZEE Biskope, salutes the spirit of motherhood this Mother’s Day by changing the narrative around the occasion. We have all seen our mothers toiling away for the well-being of our families with a smile on their faces. ZEE Biskope sparks the thought of giving back to her in an impactful way. Evident from the success of the brand’s earlier initiatives, such efforts with an emotional appeal create a huge impression among the young audience uplifting the brand’s value and making it more approachable and ‘Apna’ to the viewers. This is yet another evidence of the brand’s thought leadership and dedication to live upto its promise of delivering initiatives that the category has never seen before. The category is sure to see more such initiatives from the brand’s kitty in the coming months.”

Amarpreet Singh Saini, Chief Channel Officer, Bhojpuri Cluster, ZEEL said, “For a mother, the fact that her children contribute for her happiness and earns her a gratifying experience is much more rewarding than the material gratification. It’s the sense of acknowledgement that means a thousand words for her. At ZEE Biskope, we always strive to make our viewer’s life more rewarding through the lens of entertainment. #MaaiKeNaam initiative is a testimony to the brand’s commitment to provide its viewers with platforms where they can develop positive impact in their lives while enjoying their core cultural ethos. We wish all Mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day.”

ABP Majha is all set to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its flagship talk show – Majha Katta, by organizing a grand on-ground conclave ‘Majha Maha Katta’ on 30th April, 2022, at ITC Grand Central, Mumbai. ABP Majha is inviting 10 leading personalities from various walks of life to the conclave.

The goal of the talk show – Majha Katta is to provide viewers an offbeat interview detailing the life & events of renowned personalities from across India's political, social, and cultural spectrum. The show has been a resounding success and has gathered immense love and support from the viewers over the past decade. The show reached 15.6 million viewers in the financial year of 2019-20. Ever since its inception, the show has telecast more than 400 episodes.

During this full-day conclave, the 10 renowned personalities will be interviewed by the host Rajiv Khandekar and the editorial team of ABP Majha in the classic Katta format. The conclave will telecast on ABP Majha on 30th April, 2022 and throughout the day on 1st May, 2022. The show has a rich history of interviewing pathbreakers and achievers from all across the country. Previously, the show has interviewed the likes of Nobel laureate Abhijeet Banerjee, renowned singer Asha Bhosle, education reformist Sonam Wangchuk, renowned lifestyle coach Gaur Gopal Das and the acclaimed actor and director Aamir Khan.

Speaking on the 10th anniversary of the show, Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP Network, said, “Majha Katta is an extremely unique offering where the viewers get to experience an in-depth look into the personality, ideas and daily life of the eminent persons being interviewed. This platform has enjoyed unprecedented popularity amongst the audiences in the last 10 years. It is a more direct and insightful format which makes the audiences connect at a deeper level with the guests. This year’s grand event is a celebration of the 10 glorious years of this programme and will bring together an exciting mix of personalities from the political, social, and entertainment sectors of Maharashtra. We are looking forward to hosting this event and carrying forward the legacy of Majha Katta into its second decade.”

Commenting on the immense popularity of the show, Rajiv Khandekar, Senior Vice President - News & Programming, ABP Majha, said “Our endeavour is to inform, educate, and entertain our viewers through our weekly flagship show ‘Majha Katta’ on ABP Majha. This unique show offers its viewers an insight into the life of an eminent personality who is in the news. Majha Katta has amassed a phenomenal level of popularity since its inception in the last ten years due to its unique format of putting forth straight and hard-hitting questions to the guests. The nature of this show is like being acquainted with just about anyone. Majha Katta is loved by its viewers because it brings them lots of happiness and positivity.”


Friday, 29 April 2022 00:00

Amazon Prime Video Bets Big on India

Announces its Biggest Content Slate of Series, Movies and Co-productions across Genres and Languages

Doubles down on content investments in India. To launch over 40 new titles across series and movies in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu in the next 2 years

Forays into original movies; announces new multi-year licensing deals and co-productions with major Indian film studios

Expands Prime Video’s Marketplace offering with the launch of Transactional Video-On-Demand (TVOD) Movie Rental Service in India. The TVOD Service will enable early rental access to latest Indian and International movies; and in-addition offer a rich catalogue of popular movies from around the world on a transactional (per-movie) basis. Prime Video’s customer footprint is set to expand further as the TVOD Rental Service will be available to all Prime members as well as anyone who is not yet a Prime member.

Unveiling its biggest slate to date in India, at its maiden Prime Video Presents India showcase event in Mumbai, Amazon Prime Video today announced over 40 new titles, in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, across original series, original movies and co-productions that it plans to launch over the next 24 months.

Dialling up its strategy of bringing the best and latest movies to consumers across languages, Prime Video announced new multi-year licensing deals and co-productions with some of India’s biggest and most successful studios. Prime video also announced its foray into original movie production in India with films in Hindi and Telugu, to be released directly on the service.

The service recently completed half a decade of super-serving customers in India, and announced that it will more than doubling its investment in Prime Video India over the next 5 years.

The upcoming Amazon Originals will enthral customers by offering a wide gamut of genres, ranging from cutting-edge thrillers, high-octane action, engaging dramas to light-hearted comedies and heart-warming romances. The service is augmenting its original programming for young adult audiences, and also exploring genres like supernatural and horror for the first time in its India journey. Furthermore, Prime Video is enhancing the scope of its unscripted series catalogue to explore genres like biographies, true-crime and investigative docudramas.

Prime Video aims to be a home for talent. It is working with a wide set of diverse creators with unique, cinematic voices from across the country. Almost 70% of the new upcoming titles will feature new talent - both in front of and behind the camera.

After launching Prime Video Channels last year, in another significant step towards creating a video entertainment marketplace, Amazon today also launched Prime Video Store, its transactional video-on-demand (TVOD) movie rental service in India. Customers can now get early access to the latest Indian and international movies, including a rich catalogue of popular movies (award winners and franchises) from around the world on a transactional (per-movie) basis. Prime Video’s customer footprint is set to expand even further as the TVOD rental service will be available to all Prime members, as well as, anyone who isn’t a Prime member. Customers will get early rental access to movies across languages and the rental service can be accessed via the STORE tab on primevideo.com and the Prime Video app.

“In the last 5 years, we have built a strong slate of locally produced content across languages, super-serving the diverse entertainment needs of Indian customers. With increased access and distribution, we have helped these great stories travel far and wide in India, and around the world. We have played a key role in helping expand the linguistic palette of Indian customers, thereby, increasing the audience base for creators and talent. Prime Video India today sees viewership from 99% of the country’s pin-codes. India continues to be one of Prime Video’s fastest-growing & most engaged locale globally. We are humbled by the love we have received from our consumers and continue to be deeply committed to delighting our customers with great content, while also fuelling the creative economy,” said Gaurav Gandhi, country head, Amazon Prime Video India.

Speaking about the multi-pronged approach on expanding the movies segment in India, Gaurav added, “In tune with our vision to become the most-loved entertainment hub, we have steadily innovated in the way we offer movies to our consumers, from offering films in a post-theatrical early-window to direct-to-service premieres bringing the most anticipated movies to consumers’ living rooms and preferred devices. We are deeply committed to grow this segment further and are going bigger on our film licensing partnerships, expanding our co-production initiatives and are now excited to announce our foray into original movies. In addition to our investments in great content, we are super excited about the launch of our TVOD movie rental service, that will not just give even more expanded reach to these films but also give customers more choice in how they want to access and watch content.”

Elaborating on the expansive content slate announced today, Aparna Purohit, head of India originals, Amazon Prime Video said, “Our mission has been to tell compelling, authentic and rooted stories that not just connect with audiences in India but resonate with audiences across the world. We feel humbled that the characters of our shows and films have inspired new archetypes, blazed a new trail, and in fact, become a part of the cultural zeitgeist. As we move forward, we are excited to partner with some of the most prolific creators to bring forth powerful stories across different formats, genres and languages for our customers. We are confident that our upcoming slate of shows and films will transcend all barriers of language, nationality or formats.”

New York Festivals Advertising Awards Hosts Emerging Tech Panel in the Metaverse

NYF Video Explores International NY-Based Executive Jurors Experience as Foreign Nationals in NYC: Meta's Creative Shop Shares "A Shop in the Woods for Executive Jury Tech Panel

New York Festivals International Advertising Awards(r) launched "Immigrant Madison Avenue: You Never Make It Here, NYF's most recent video episode that shines a spotlight on the diverse creative talent at New York agencies and explores the up-to-the-minute state of the advertising industry.

This newly released episode takes the pulse of international creatives who are working in NYC in the advertising sphere as foreign nationals. The passionate and honest discussions showcase these world-class creatives who together explore both the advantages and disadvantages of working as an immigrant in New York's highly competitive advertising industry.

Panel members include host and 2022 Executive Jury President Fede Garcia, Global CCO of BCW; Bianca Falusi, CCO, Mother; Rafael Rizuto, CCO, BBH; Hemant Anant Jain, ECD, Argonaut; and Bianca Guimaraes, Partner & ECD, Mischief. Together they engage in a deep dive sharing their passion for advertising and how their diverse backgrounds drove them to achieve immense success in the city they love known as the advertising mecca. The engaging conversation brings to life how their hard-earned skills and well-honed craft continues to drive them and bring objectivity to their work while adapting to a new culture.


New York Festivals hosted an Emerging Tech Panel taking place in the virtual world of the metaverse. Three Future Now Executive Jury members who are on the cutting-edge of integrating technology, creativity, and business came together for a meeting of the minds about vanguard technology.

The members participated as avatars, meeting in Horizon World within Meta's Creative Shop's "A Shop in the Woods", using Meta's Quest 2 headset for an in-depth first of its kind fireside chat.

Panelists include Karen Maurice-O'Leary, Emerging Product and Platforms Lead, Creative Shop, Meta and Walter Geer, Chief Experience Design Officer, VMLY&R who explored emerging tech together with moderator and NYF Future Now Executive Jury President, David Justus, Executive Director of Technology and Business Development for AKQA.

The tech focused discussion in this VR world explored emerging technologies, what the metaverse means for the future of advertising, the new class of cultural producers and how creator-culture will impact business and brand. View the trailer for An Emerging Tech Talk In The Metaverse


The Future Now Executive Jury will judge the "new for 2022" Future Now categories launched to shine the spotlight on creative work that uses technology to provide an innovative approach that leads to a more engaged consumer experience.

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