MUMBAI (Reuters) - Amazon's Prime Video launched a movie rental service in India on Thursday, promising to release more than forty original series and movies over the next two years in a key market.
The world’s second-most populous nation with a population of nearly 1.4 billion, India is a valuable market for Amazon and its rivals Netflix and Walt Disney Co’s Disney+ Hotstar.
"We are super excited about the launch," Gaurav Gandhi, head of Amazon Prime Video India said at a function, adding that the service would widen customers' reach and choice. It enables them to pay per movie, instead of a flat monthly fee.
The move comes five years after the U.S. tech giant launched its streaming service in India, and the company said it planned to more than double its investment in Prime Video over the next five years, but did not give figures.
The company unveiled plans for 41 original series in three Indian languages, some to be produced by top Bollywood directors such as Karan Johar and Zoya Akhtar.
Amazon has invested heavily in acquiring and producing local content in India, where, founder Jeff Bezos said in 2020, Prime Video was doing better than anywhere else in the world. Amazon does not break out user numbers by country.
It is also expected to take on heavyweights such as India's Reliance Industries, Sony Group Corp and Disney in the battle for exclusive digital broadcast rights to the hugely popular Indian Premier League (IPL).
(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar in Mumbai; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)