Amazon partners with Indian government to promote state content
Amazon.com is partnering with India’s federal government to stream movies and TV shows from state-run studios, as well as offer internships for government film institute students 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 “reinforces our commitment to promoting and showcasing India’s creative talent and stories globally. thanks to our multiple services”. Amazon’s India unit will also introduce a special feature to promote books and journals from the publishing arm of the ministry.
India is a key growth market for Amazon and its Prime Video streaming service, but it’s also a country where the company has faced antitrust challenges, legal battles for hurting religious sentiments in its shows television and allegations of undercutting mom-and-pop stores. The rapprochement comes ahead of national elections next year where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will likely seek a third term.
Partnering with a government department is a rare move for the Seattle, Washington-based company. Last year, it pledged to spend 10 million euros (nearly Rs. 90 crore) over three years announcing a collaboration with the UK’s National Film & Television School to provide students with opportunities to career in productions commissioned by the company.
Despite the high volume of films produced each year, mostly through the Mumbai-based Hindi-language industry, Indian films have yet to gain the kind of global appeal of South Korean content, with award-winning titles such as Parasite or Netflix’s The Squid Game. Last year, Netflix signed a pact with the Indian government to create training programs for post-production and animation, the Deccan Herald newspaper reported.
“The partnership with Amazon India is unique in several respects,” Anurag Thakur, India’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting, said in the statement. The partnership would provide scholarships, internships and masterclasses for students “and help reduce the period of struggle for talented artists”, he added.
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