What is Amazon miniTV and what can we expect?
On May 15, e-commerce giant Amazon announced the launch of its ad-supported video streaming service called miniTV which is built directly into the company's shopping app for India. It will exist alongside Amazon Prime Video. While the latter is Amazon's Netflix rival that regularly features exclusive content for audiences worldwide, miniTV's content is exclusively India-centric for now. Here's everything you should know about miniTV.
Amazon miniTV would provide a free-of-cost alternative to Prime Video
Prime Video enjoyed over 60 million monthly active users in April. However, that's nowhere near YouTube India's 425 million monthly active user count (just on Android). Although Amazon bundles Prime Video with membership and offers separate video-only subscription plans, most Indian users are averse to paying for content. Amazon's miniTV intends to offer content from popular YouTube creators while replacing subscription fees with ads.
Amazon launches miniTV with partner content originally created for YouTube
Amazon said that miniTV would feature web series, comedy shows, videos about technology, news, beauty, fashion, and food "to begin with." Popular creators associated with miniTV include Ashish Chanchlani, Amit Bhadana, Round2Hell, Harsh Beniwal, Trakin Tech, Sejal Kumar, Jovita George, Kabita's Kitchen, Cook with Nisha, and Gobble. However, most of miniTV's content was originally developed by the creators for their YouTube channels.
Amazon's choice of partner content creators squarely target the masses
The company remained secretive about its plans for exclusive content. Interestingly, Amazon has partnered with creators who appeal to the masses instead of the likes of Tanmay Bhat and Biswa Kalyan Rath who create content for the urban elite. Amazon said that miniTV is only available on the Android app for now. An iOS and mobile web version will debut in the coming months.
This isn't Amazon's first rodeo launching an ad-supported streaming platform
Most notably, in 2019, Amazon had launched a similar standalone ad-supported streaming service called IMDb TV in the US. Meanwhile, miniTV is also being viewed as Amazon's version of Walmart-backed Flipkart's 2019 attempt to integrate a video streaming service into its shopping app.
Numerous other Indian service providers tried similar implementations and failed
In recent years, many Indian service providers such as Paytm, Ola, and Zomato have tried their luck integrating video streaming into their app but their efforts have mostly flown under the radar. Amazon has made efforts to curate India-specific content. It'll be interesting to see if users take to miniTV like YouTube or if they find it distracting while they plan their next purchase.