NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel is set to enter into a deal with Amazon that will allow India’s top telecom market leader to distribute the American ecommerce giant’s content through the Airtel TV app and offer free subscription of Amazon Prime Video to its post-paid customers.
Through the content tie-up, Bharti Airtel is aiming to ring-fence its high-paying customers in an intensely competitive market where bitter rival Reliance Jio Infocomm pegs its content as a key differentiator, say analysts.
“Airtel is tying up with Amazon for a big content play. The beta testing is on for the potential offering,” a person familiar with the matter said. “The launch timelines are not available, but given the integration process, the launch is imminent.”
Airtel is also in the process of partnering with other content providers as well, including FastFlimz, the person added.
The Sunil Mittal-led telco is planning to offer 12 months of free subscription to Amazon Prime Video to customers who opt for the Airtel myPlan Infinity Postpaid plans priced from around Rs 500. Amazon currently offers the video service along with other ecommerce benefits at Rs 999 a year.
Airtel didn’t respond to ET’s queries until press time Friday.
Content is emerging as a key factor in India’s intensely competitive telecom market. Jio, which had launched services in September 2016, offers free access to its digital content services, including live TV, video on demand, music streaming and cloud storage, bundled with mobile services.
In a bid to sweeten its offering, Bharti Airtel has made its entire content catalogue on Airtel TV available to all post-paid and prepaid users on a free subscription basis till June 2018. It has also enhanced the content bouquet by adding more than 300 TV channels and over 6,000 movies and popular shows.
“We have nothing to announce on this front at the moment. We will share more as we are ready,” an Amazon India spokesperson said.
The company is building a partner ecosystem to curate and offer digital content from all leading platforms at one place. Currently, Airtel TV has partnerships with Eros Now, SonyLIV and HOOQ, with several more on the anvil, Airtel said on Thursday. It offers content in 15 languages through the application.
Jio, on its part, has its own content.
To bolster its content play, Airtel recently acquired a strategic stake in Juggernaut Books. From movies and music to e-magazines, it is planning to partner with content providers in what analysts see as a win-win for both.
Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have also been entering into similar content tie-ups. India’s second largest telco, Vodafone India, had earlier this year joined hands with Amazon for the Prime service, and it also offers free subscriptions of Netflix and Magzter to customers of its ‘RED’ plans, while Idea Cellular offers access to digital magazines and news through its Magzter partnership. Both Vodafone and Idea are currently in the process of merging their operations.
“There has been a symbiotic relationship between content providers and telcos that has long been existent across the domains of music, games, web content, etc. The objectives are very clear — mobile phones are no longer just communication devices; in fact, they are now our personal entertainment devices,” said Arjun Vishwanathan, associate director for emerging technologies at IDC. “So, whether it’s about music or games … it does make sense for content providers to partner with telcos.”
Offerings like free subscriptions and unlimited video streaming by carriers are largely aimed at attracting a younger crowd that doesn’t want to be encumbered by traditional cable, analysts said.
Source by:- economictimesShare: