Gaurav Gandhi, who was chief operating officer of Viacom18 Digital Ventures, has quit after eight years of service at the company. He managed over-the-top video streaming service VOOT that was launched in March 2016.
According to Economic Times, he will join Amazon’s Prime Video division as director and country manager. This position has been unoccupied since Nitesh Kriplani quit in August last year. Gandhi joined Viacom 18 in 2010 and served as chief operating officer for IndiaCast Media Distribution, before taking up his last role.
The move comes at a time when video on-demand services are gaining momentum in India, backed by increasing penetration of smartphones and availability of cheap data. Amazon Prime Video is now looking to expand its offerings in vernacular languages, to have an edge over competitors. The platform already has a library of movies in five Indian languages. Players such as Netflix, Hotstar, Sony Liv, Eros Now, Spuul, Ditto TV, ALT Balaji, HOOQ, among others, are also in the race to carve out their share in this growing market.
As per the latest FICCI-Frames report, digital media grew 29.4% in 2017, with a 28.8% growth in advertising and 50% growth in subscription. India will be the second largest online video viewing audience in the world by 2020. Subscription will contribute 9% to total digital revenues by that year, as compared to 3.3% in 2016.