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Amazon Launches Indian Entertainment Channel for U.S. Prime Members

Variety logo Variety 3/2/2017 Todd Spangler
© Provided by Variety

Amazon is going after fans of Indian movies and TV shows with Heera, a new curated on-demand subscription service from Amazon Channels, featuring movies, serials and children’s content in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi and Bengali.

The service, priced at $5 per month, will be available only in the U.S. and — as with other Amazon Channels — requires membership in the $99-per-year Prime program. It’s the second branded SVOD channel from the ecommerce giant, after it debuted the Anime Strike channel earlier this year.

The Heera channel will offer “several hundred” classic titles and recent releases, according to Amazon. Those include top Bollywood films such as “Sultan” starring Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma (pictured above); “Fan” starring Shah Rukh Khan; and “Kapoor and Sons” with Sidharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt. Regional hits include Rajinikanth’s “Kabali,” the top Tamil movie of 2016, Marathi classic “Mee Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy” and Telugu-language “Eega” starring Sudeep.

Amazon says new movies and shows will be added every month to Heera, which means “diamond” in Hindi, Bengali, Urdu and Punjabi.

The Amazon Channels lineup includes more than 100 add-on video subscription services for Prime members. Channels include HBO and Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, Acorn TV, NBCUniversal’s Seeso, Fullscreen, Machinima, Warner Bros.’ DramaFever, Tribeca Shortlist, A+E Networks’ Lifetime Movie Club, Cinedigm’s Dove Channel, CuriosityStream, Comedy Central’s Stand-Up Plus, PBS Kids, Fandor, Cheddar and Outside TV.

Nearly all of the services in Amazon Channels are available separately without a pay-TV subscription, including HBO Now, Showtime and Starz. Amazon says the benefits of subscribing to them through Amazon Channels include the ability to watch them on over 650 compatible devices and the convenience of having access to multiple channels through one account with only one passwords to remember. Also, Anime Strike and Heera are exclusively available on Amazon Channels.

An Amazon rep declined to disclose possible future plans to make Amazon Channels available outside the U.S. The company last December launched Amazon Prime Video in 200 countries, where in most cases it’s available only as a standalone SVOD service.

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