Amazon.com is partnering with India’s federal government to stream movies and TV shows from state-run studios as well as provide internships to students from government film institutes in a key market for the US e-commerce giant.
India’s broadcasting ministry and Amazon signed an agreement on Wednesday, the company said in a statement, adding that the move “strengthens our commitment to globally promote and showcase India’s creative talent and stories through our multiple services.” Amazon’s India unit will also introduce a special feature to promote books and journals from the ministry’s publication arm.
India is a key growth market for Amazon and its Prime Video streaming service, but it’s also a country where the firm has faced antitrust challenges, legal battles for hurting religious sentiments in its TV shows and allegations of undercutting mom-and-pop stores. The tie up comes before national elections next year where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will probably seek a third term.
The partnership with a government ministry is a rare move for the Seattle, Washington-headquartered company. Last year, it committed to spend EUR 10 million (nearly Rs. 90 crore) over three years as it announced a collaboration with the UK’s National Film & Television School to give students career opportunities in company-commissioned productions.
Despite the high volume of movies produced each year, mainly through the Hindi-language industry based in Mumbai — Indian films haven’t yet managed to earn the kind of global crossover appeal South Korean content has, with award-winning titles such as Parasite or Netflix‘s Squid Game. Netflix last year signed a pact with India’s government to create training programs for post-production and animation, Deccan Herald newspaper reported.
“The partnership with Amazon India is unique on a number of counts,” Anurag Thakur, India’s Minister for Information & Broadcasting, said in the statement. The partnership would provide scholarships, internships and masterclasses for students “and help to reduce the period of struggle for the talented artists,” he added.
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