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Netflix vs Amazon: Who Will Win the Regional Battle?

Greater India- the land of mystical appeal, had lured foreign voyagers toward her since the 15th century when Vasco da Gama first arrived at the shore of the Indian Ocean. Since then, greater India has been divided into several pieces of sovereign territories, but the appeal has remained strong. The slight difference is that they used to come for our spices back then, and now they come for our ever-growing market.

As Fukuyama claimed- with the end of the Cold War, the end of history was here. And the end of history declared liberal democracy and liberal economic world order as the final stop. It means the competition for acquiring the market was no longer about engaging in a total war. In the laissez-faire economy, one conquers the market by staying at the top of the mind.

It is not a rare fact that the Indian sub-continent is one of the most densely populated regions. About 1.8 billion people call this part of the world their home. Billions of individuals are equivalent to billions of opportunities. And when you add the advent of affordable Internet into the mix, you get ‘El Dorado’ or the land of gold for the OTT industries.

Netflix came to India back in 2016. Amazon’s Prime Video followed its opponent to India a year later. In 2018, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings shared his vision at a business summit in Delhi. He believed the streaming giant’s next 100 million subscribers would “come from India.” But Hastings’s confidence starts to dwindle as Netflix struggles to reach its target. According to Media Partners Asia, India’s approximately 2-billion-dollar streaming industry is fuelled by 100 million paying customers. With an estimated 5.5 million paying subscribers, the world’s biggest streaming service lags behind its main rival, Amazon Prime Video (19 million subscribers). However, the social media platforms of both streaming services tell the opposite story. With 7.9 million followers on Instagram and 1.7 million on Twitter, Netflix is leading the race. In comparison, Prime Video struggles to find its voice on both Instagram and Twitter, with 4.5 million and one million followers, respectively. If the current situation prevails, Netflix may emerge as the synonym for streaming services to the up-and-coming audience, and soon Prime Video will lose its edge.


Blend With the Culture
When McDonald’s first came to India in 1994, they contacted Amit Jatia, an Indian businessman, to invest in the business. It took quite an effort to convince his family with vegetarian values to invest in a fast-food chain whose MVP was a beef burger. But McDonald’s willingness to localise won over Amit’s family and the majority Indian market. Across the world, the Big Mac beef burger is the company’s signature product. But Amit and his partners had to develop their own signature products for India. And hence, the Chicken Maharajah Mac, Aloo Tikki Burger, and McSpicy Paneer were born. To win over your target audience, understanding where they come from is crucial. And it applies to every industry. Both Netflix and Prime Video understand this and apply it in their social media marketing strategy.
For instance, the Indian sub-continent has humid, tropical weather, and summer lasts longer than any other season here. And if there is one thing that makes everyone anticipate the agonizing heat of the summer season, then that has to be mango. Netflix has cracked the code- mango is not just a fruit but an emotion to this region’s people. And with their clever meme marketing, Netflix has successfully shared the emotions of the billion.

In contrast, Amazon Prime Video has also deployed similar meme marketing. Still, instead of hitting the sweet spot like Netflix, it evoked our rather negative feelings towards summer. And in the end, when you compare the Instagram posts side by side, one makes you nostalgic about your childhood summer and warms your heart; the other agitates you with the fear of unbearable heat.

Another cultural aspect that Netflix has perfected ‘to a T’ is the multi-ethnic and religious festivities. The Indian sub-continent is known for its colourful festivals. And each festival bears certain social and cultural norms close to our hearts. For instance, in the following Instagram post, Netflix has perfected the feeling we all have after getting Eidi. Again, a subtle yet impactful way to evoke our sweet nostalgia.


Who’s Your Best Friend?
I have read in many business books that a company can only become number one when its customers believe it cares about them and listens to their needs. Now, as a streaming platform, how can you make your audience believe you genuinely care about them? Well, through social listening!
Social listening means you track the response to your products, follow the feedback, observe how customers interact with your product and look out for the keywords. Once you have done all these, you take the lesson and apply it to your next content. Netflix’s social media marketing team beats Prime Video here as well
See the above pictures. Netflix team has successfully understood what the audience liked from each movie and series. They picked up what intrigued the audience and subtly delivered the message. However, even if the message is subtle, it is not vague or confusing. If you are someone who, for example, has not watched Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara but always wanted to witness the Tomatina festival, then the post will spark an interest within you to watch the movie.

On the other hand, Prime Video does not understand what may intrigue audiences in a general sense. If you do not recognise one of the above cars, you immediately get frustrated, and besides, there is no way for you to get a sense of the movie they belong to unless you surf through the comments. And even after that, if you somehow know which car belongs to which movie, a car is not intriguing enough to ignite your interest in watching the movie. Yes, it may offer some laughs to those who have already seen the movie, but there is no scope to direct the new audience toward the platform.

Netflix also has a better engagement with the audience with their witty replies and relatable memes than Prime Video. Netflix’s engagement strategy is top-notch. It feels like you are bantering with a witty friend from your group. And while doing so, they very cleverly plug their shows.

Amazon Prime Video’s meme game is comparatively weaker than Netflix’s. And their engagement in the comment section or on Twitter is not as hilarious. They also repeat jokes, making it more mundane and easier to skim. Above all, their subtle-tone blue and boring font does not help. In the era of TikTok and reels, the competition for the audience’s attention is no less than the Hunger Games


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