Vi­jay Subra­ma­niam,

The Brand Reporter - - COVERSTORY - feed­back@afaqs.com

direc­tor and head, con­tent, Ama­zon Prime Video, In­dia

On the chal­lenges

First, it’s im­por­tant for us to recog­nise what our cus­tomers want and cater to that want. There­fore, it’s re­ally im­por­tant to have a di­verse port­fo­lio. Within that, how to bal­ance var­i­ous sto­ries, gen­res and make the right se­lec­tion is a very in­ter­est­ing creative chal­lenge for us. With every show and every piece of con­tent that we cre­ate, we are learn­ing - both from our cus­tomers as well as creative ex­pe­ri­ences. Given that it’s un­char­tered ter­ri­tory, what is the right bal­ance? How do you tweak it? What kind of gen­res do you present first? What kind of gen­res should you fo­cus on least?

Se­cond, what we are do­ing is new to this coun­try and its sto­ry­telling fra­ter­nity. To some ex­tent, we are also cre­at­ing an ecosys­tem within the mar­ket place. So, that is a chal­lenge be­cause peo­ple un­der­stand the medium and are very ex­cited about it but it also re­quires a cer­tain shift in the way you think about sto­ries, post pro­duc­tion and so on.

Third, the cur­rent in­fra­struc­ture needs to quickly adapt to fast-paced global stan­dards. We launched a show like Breathe in 200 ter­ri­to­ries, thus set­ting the bar high for the post-pro­duc­tion team and tech­ni­cal specs. Peo­ple are quickly re­al­is­ing and do­ing ev­ery­thing re­quired to adapt to this new stan­dard.

Lastly, this form of sto­ry­telling is clearly a writ­ers’ par­adise. We be­lieve that bat­tles are won and lost in the writ­ers’ room. There is a lot of time and ef­fort that goes into the writ­ing and devel­op­ment process. This a new mus­cle that a lot of cre­ators are learn­ing to ex­ert.

On find­ing the right writer

We don’t re­ally make any dis­tinc­tion be­tween TV writ­ers and film writ­ers. For us every story, con­cept and script is taken on merit. It’s re­ally up to the cre­ators to de­ter­mine what kind of writ­ers, they be­lieve, will be able to ex­e­cute the con­cept. So, the writ­ers’ room can have a mix of peo­ple. Script­ing is a rig­or­ous devel­op­ment process and that can take months, or even years. And to that end it is very dif­fer­ent from TV.

On at­tract­ing view­ers

Ev­ery­thing we do as Ama­zon Prime is cus­tomer-cen­tric. Un­der­stand­ing the ex­ist­ing taste and pref­er­ence of our cus­tomers (when it comes to en­ter­tain­ment) and try­ing our best to cater to it whilst con­stantly un­der­stand­ing emerg­ing trends through di­a­logue and con­ver­sa­tion is most im­por­tant.

On gen­er­at­ing en­gag­ing con­tent

Our first port of call was film­mak­ers be­cause we wanted cin­e­matic qual­ity, fi­nite fic­tion con­tent. We ap­proached es­tab­lished pro­duc­ers like Ex­cel Me­dia & En­ter­tain­ment and Kabir Khan Pro­duc­tions. The op­por­tu­nity for us now is to be able to nur­ture tal­ent and sto­ry­tellers, and bring their sto­ries to life.

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