‘I don’t think we’re dragging anyone away’: How Prime Video is securing T20 World Cup audiences

Prime Video

“Live sports are acquisitive, that’s why we invest in them,” Prime Video tells Mediaweek on the ground in Trinidad and Tobago.

Prime wants to grow cricket in Australia while also growing its audience base, head of Prime Video Australia and New Zealand Hushidar Kharas has assured.

At Prime Video’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup launch event at Maracas Beach in Trinidad and Tobago, Kharas spoke to Mediaweek about the streaming service‘s outlook on securing audiences for the tournament, amidst the free to air networks’ ongoing anti-siphoning lobbying to keep sports free. 

“I don’t think we’re dragging anyone away,” he said.

“I think it’s a rich media landscape, it’s dynamic, and people can watch things in different places at different times.

“Our worldview or mindset is never that we want to be the only service, we want to be part of a bouquet of services that customers use, and we want to provide value back to them.”

Prime isn’t just Prime Video, he claimed, but the wider Amazon ecosystem.

“Prime is not just about Video, we have an array of other services available to our customers such as one-day shipping, Prime exclusive deals, books, music, games. We also know that they’re going to be watching other things on our platform.”

Prime Video

Mitchell Marsh, Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa, Nathan Ellis, Tim David and Prime Video’s T20 World Cup Ambassador Usman Khawaja at the event

In terms of measuring the success of the T20 World Cup, and the cricket rights deal, Kharas said it goes back to customers. 

“I think it’s really important for us to see if our existing Prime members value this content as much as we think they do.

“Viewership from our existing base is really important, but equally, live sports are acquisitive, that’s why we invest in them. 

“We’d like to see new customers come in, but we think it’s really great value for our existing Prime members. Even if someone’s not on Prime, we have a 30-day free trial, the launch of the World Cup would be a great time to try it.”

Prime Video has already seen an interest in cricket on its platform with original documentary series such as The Test, and Kharas thinks live coverage will boost its sports portfolio. 

“We want to grow the sport, as well as grow our audience.

“Our existing base of customers already really value cricket. We’ve seen that with the success of The Test or Shane. 

“We’re already seeing a groundswell of support for cricket in our content, and we think live will take it to the next level.”

Prime Video

Maracas Beach, Trinidad and Tobago.

Prime Video exclusively holds the live Australian broadcast rights for ICC cricket events for the next four years, but Kharas says Prime will never be dominated by sports coverage.

“We are never going to be a sports-only streaming service.

“We want to serve all our customers in Australia, and we know it takes all kinds of content.

“Programs like Fallout or Roadhouse do really well with our male audience while a film like The Idea of You does great for our younger female demo. 

“We look at a wide variety of content and we have a portfolio approach. It always works backwards from the customer and from customer segments.”

The launch of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup exclusively on Prime Video in Australia comes as the government continues to consider the details of an updated anti-siphoning scheme. The free to air networks are pushing for the legislation to also capture people watching TV without an aerial.

Currently, the Bill prevents subscription streaming services such as Prime Video, Netflix, and Disney+ from buying exclusive terrestrial broadcast rights to sporting events like the Olympics, AFL, NRL, and cricket, but they can still acquire exclusive digital rights. Free TV said this would lock out the millions of Australians who watch free sport on services such as 7plus, 9Now, and 10Play

This week, Free TV also warned that Australians could pay up to $2,000 a year to watch free sports

“This is a clear signal of what we will face in Australia if we don’t future-proof new laws to protect Australians’ right to free sport on TV, however they access it,” said Free TV CEO Bridget Fair

“With the current cost of living pressures Australians are facing, it is hard to understand why the government is not stepping in to stop this from happening.”

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup commences on 1 June internationally and 2 June for Australian fans. Cricket fans across Australia will have exclusive access on Prime Video to all matches in every tournament of ICC competition, including the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

To Top