Streaming Video News: March 19, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with some recent additions to the catalog. Here are the films added within the last week (movies are Hindi- or English-language, unless specified):

I also found a couple dozen other Indian films added since Heera’s demise early in January. I may have missed them previously because I usually filter my Instant Watcher queries to exclude movies for which I can’t find IMDb entries–to help get rid of the clutter in Amazon’s catalog (e.g., low-budget workout videos, virtual fireplace videos, oddball content for kids, etc.). This filter also blocked me from seeing some legitimate movies. The films I missed fell into two categories. First, these are movies in their original languages:

In the second category, these are all of the Hindi-dubbed versions of South Indian movies that were added:

Since Heera closed down, the majority of the Indian movies to join the catalog are Hindi-dubs of South Indian films, many of which are free to watch ad-supported without a Prime subscription and almost all of which are already available on YouTube. Excluding the incorporation of Heera’s collection into the Prime catalog, Amazon hasn’t added a recent, mainstream Bollywood film or high-profile South Indian movie since Bank Chor on December 21, 2017.

[Let’s pause to remember when Heera added Chef one month after its theatrical release. Those were good times.]

Frankly, this is what I was afraid of when Heera shut down. When Amazon snapped up the streaming rights to tons of Bollywood movies last year, it was in an effort to woo new customers in India. Heera was an attempt to monetize the newly acquired content in the United States, and when it didn’t work, maybe Amazon decided not to bother hosting it at all (especially if it saves them money somehow–I don’t know how their contracts work). Since most households in the US already subscribe to Prime, the company has no incentive to give them something essentially for free.

Instead, we get more of the same free stuff you can already find on YouTube. It’s frustrating.

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