The Digital Mahabharata
SOCIETY|February - March 2019

Just like the epic fight of Mahabharata, a war is now raging on digital land. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are the two big streaming service providers fighting in this epic battle. We analyse the developments so far

Rahulpaul

If you have not subscribed to either Amazon Prime or Netflix, you may not be counted amongst the huge network of people interconnected by favourite shows, characters, fan theories and debates of superiority. Because those who have are the rarefied lot who know how Gaitonde knows Sartaj, what Mrs Maisel does when she’s drunk, what Claire Underwood did in the White House and who is the most eldest and carefree dancer around the district of Mirzapur…

Origin

Netflix is an American media-services provider headquartered in Los Gatos, California, founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in Scotts Valley, California. Whereas Amazon was launched quite later in September 2006 as Amazon Unbox in the United States. In 2016, Amazon Video and Netflix both expanded their reach worldwide and debuted in India. Since then, both the streaming giants have been vigorously promoting each and every show they release for the Indian network. With the arrival of several homegrown streaming companies in the picture, the competition has become tough but these two giants hold their positions firmly. We analyse what their scorecards look like when it comes to genre, originals, price and audience reach.

Genres

Feminism

Netflix’s idea of feminism is still not very clear, with many shows still portraying the conventional women, mostly girls, like in 13 Reasons Why 2, Chilling Adventures of Sabreena, To all the Boys I’ve loved Before, Riverdale, etc. Even the best of their female protagonist driven films and Amazon Prime leads in this genre, with The Marvellous Mrs Maisel breaking stereotypes that still prevail in some industries for women. The path breaking shows don’t offer anything to drive the feminist movement ahead show won the Emmy for the Best Comedy show and the best part is that it serves the message with a slice of humour.

Terrorism

Netflix’s Terrorism Close Calls is as close as it can get to the real terrorism tackling process. With interviews of actual agents and officials, some even kept disguised, the show brings to the fore never ever revealed secrets and techniques of dealing with terrorists. Amazon Prime’s reply in this category is The Looming Tower which exposes the lack of administrative support between the FBI and CIA which led the path to 9/11. Though a fictional series, it

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