Eros Now has selected Microsoft for hosting of its digital video offerings on Azure cloud platform from market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Microsoft, which is yet to overtake the AWS in the Indian cloud market, will build an online video platform for the Bollywood production house, which will offer interactive voice search features in multiple Indian regional languages.
“AI and intelligent cloud tools will be the next drivers of the media business and will impact everything from content creation to consumer experience,” Anant Maheshwari, president of Microsoft India said in a press statement.
Azure, Microsoft’s flagship cloud product, had revenue growth of 76 percent in the fiscal second quarter ended Dec. 31, down from a 98 percent surge a year earlier. Azure sales increased 76 percent in the September quarter as well.
Microsoft said its research and development expenses rose to $4.1 billion in the quarter from $3.5 billion a year earlier.
Microsoft has a 17 percent share of the global cloud market, research firm Canalys previously said. Amazon has 32 percent of the cloud market.
Microsoft is ranked second — behind AWS — in North America, EMEA and Latin America. The Asia Pacific region is more challenging for Microsoft due to the impact of Chinese cloud providers, but even here it is ranked number three, said John Dinsdale, research director at Synergy Research Group.
Walt Disney-backed Hotstar and Indian movie and video streaming platform ALTBalaji, among others, are the clients of AWS India, Reuters reported.
Last year, Microsoft tied up with ZEE5, a video-on-demand platform owned by Indian media company Zee Enterprises.
Reliance Industries last month announced its partnership with Microsoft to build data centers in India that will be hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud.
Eros, in which Reliance Industries (RIL) owns a minority stake, is betting big on its online streaming platform. Eros has 18.8 million subscribers worldwide.
Indians have begun streaming more online video and audio content after Reliance’s telecom unit Jio began operations in late 2016 with cut-price tariffs that have forced rivals to slash data prices.
“The overall competitive landscape in India amongst cloud providers is heating up, especially between AWS and Microsoft, with Google catching up too,” said Naveen Mishra, of tech researcher Gartner.
India had the world’s highest average monthly data usage per smartphone, touching 9.8 gigabytes by the end of 2018, according to a June 2019 report by Swedish telecom gearmaker Ericsson.
That surge in online content consumption has driven online video streaming websites like Hotstar and Eros Now to improve services, user experience and use more cloud computing services.