The Information & Broadcasting Ministry on April 5 entered into an agreement with Amazon India in the field of media, entertainment, and public awareness, as part of which the speeches of President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also be disseminated via Alexa and Amazon Music.
“Speeches of the Hon’ble President and the Hon’ble Prime Minister, content related to key events of national importance and public interest campaigns, and daily news bulletins would be disseminated through Alexa and Amazon Music,” a Ministry statement said.
OTT content concerns
Speaking on the occasion, I&B Minister Anurag Thakur said that the partnership with Amazon India was unique on a number of counts and that the letter of engagement spanned various aspects of the creative industry. He added that Indian content has recently experienced success in international fora, while Indian actors have achieved high popularity among foreign audiences.
The Minister voiced his concern over the quality of content on OTT (over-the-top or streaming) platforms, saying that they had the responsibility of ensuring that their platforms do not propagate vulgarity and abuse camouflaged as creative expression. These platforms should reflect the collective conscience of the country, Mr. Thakur said.
Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan said that streaming services acted as a leveller, allowing new actors and creators — talents that had so far remained on the sidelines — to connect with audiences worldwide. I&B Secretary Apoorva Chandra also said that the partnership between the Ministry and Amazon India would create opportunities for Indian talent at the national and international levels.
The Letter of Engagement (LoE) provides for a partnership between various organisations under the Ministry and various verticals of Amazon India. On the Ministry side, that includes the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), Prasar Bharati, the Publications Division, the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), and the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI). On Amazon’s side, it involves APV, Alexa, Amazon Music, Amazon e-marketplace, and IMDb.
Promoting culture and talent
The arrangement also includes the promotion of Indian heritage, through a dedicated catalogue of the Publication Division’s books on Indian culture on the Amazon e-commerce website, and through the promotion of Indian music on Amazon Music and Alexa, the Ministry said.
APV will sponsor scholarships, create internship programmes, and offer job opportunities for FTII and SRFTI students. In partnership with NFDC, it will undertake skill-building activities; conduct masterclasses by Indian and international film personalities in academic institutions for the media and entertainment industry; and launch initiatives to hone the talent of the winners of the “75 Creative Minds of Tomorrow” programme.
Amazon will also work with NFDC to increase the ease of availability of information about Indian artists on IMDb, a global database for the creative industry. The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) Award-winning films, and those produced as part of India’s international co-production treaties, will be broadcast by APV, which will also explore possibilities of developing films and web-series highlighting India’s achievements.
“APV and MiniTV would onboard the rich archival content owned by Prasar Bharati and NFDC... Amazon would continue to collaborate with NFDC for featuring content, technology exhibitions, creator workshops, and talent interactions at the prestigious International Film Festival of India (IFFI) and regional film festivals,” the Ministry said.