Tag Archives: Amazon Channels

Streaming Video News: January 5, 2018

Big news in the world of streaming video today: Amazon’s Heera Channel is dead. Along with the Anime Strike channel, Heera was abruptly shut down, with much of its content folded into the general Amazon Prime video catalog. Film critic Josh Hurtado posted a screenshot of the letter emailed to Heera subscribers:

The chief complaint cited in a Forbes article about Anime Strike and its closing could apply to Heera as well: fans felt punished by having to pay twice for content, in the form of both a Prime subscription and a separate Heera subscription. The double paywall felt even more punitive given that many of Heera’s movies were included free with Prime over the border in Canada, no extra subscription required.

Perhaps what doomed Heera and Anime Strike from the start was that they were products of Amazon’s own creation, unlike other Channels like HBO or DramaFever that exist outside of Amazon’s umbrella. Such channels can cultivate and maintain loyal fanbases through their own websites and social media efforts. Heera didn’t have a dedicated blog to promote what was new or coming soon, and its Twitter account has been inactive for months. I’m not sure how Amazon expected Heera or Anime Strike to prosper without internal help from the company.

As I mentioned above, many of the movies formerly on Heera are now available in the Prime catalog. Over the next week, I’ll be populating my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the films that made the transition. In the meantime, the links on my Bollywood movies on Heera page are still accurate, so you can always click on a title to see if it’s available on Prime.

It’s no coincidence that Heera’s shuttering comes a week after Amazon added a new channel to its lineup: Eros Now. Subscribers can now access Eros Now for the standard monthly subscription fee of $7.99 using their Amazon accounts, without having to go through Eros directly. Some of the movies formerly on Heera that didn’t shift to Prime — such as Krrish 3 — are still available with an Eros Now subscription. Amazon offers a free 7-day trial of Eros Now if you want to try before you buy.


New Heera Channel Streaming Page

I just added a new page at Access Bollywood listing all of the Hindi films available for streaming on Amazon’s new Heera Channel. Amazon Channels are subscription add-ons to Amazon Prime, meaning that you can’t watch Heera without first subscribing to Prime (which more than 80 million people in the United States already do). Heera’s monthly subscription costs $4.99 and can be cancelled anytime. Amazon offers a free 7-day trial of Heera if you’d like to check it out before subscribing.

Heera features Indian movies exclusively, with titles in Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu, as well as almost 300 Hindi films. The Hindi collection spans nearly seven decades, the oldest title being 1951’s Deedar and the newest titles being OK Jaanu and The Ghazi Attack from earlier this year. Heera’s catalog balances newer commercial fare with an assortment of older movies and quality productions by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), making it a good choice for multi-generational households or those looking for a diverse selection.

Among the more recent offerings are movies by Yash Raj Films (like Sultan and Befikre) and Excel Entertainment (like Rock On 2 and Baar Baar Dekho). Heera also features the collected works of everyone in Bollywood with the surname Bhatt — minus Alia, whose only appearance on the list is in Kapoor & Sons — so if you’ve been itching to marathon the Murder or Raaz series’, you’re in luck! The two 2017 titles give Heera an edge over both Netflix and Eros Now, neither of which currently has any Bollywood movies from this year.

If you’re intrigued, give Heera a whirl with the free 7-day trial. I’m trying it out myself right now, and I’ll post my thoughts on the user experience side of things once my investigation is complete.

Amazon Prime’s New Bollywood Channel: Heera

Update: Read my full review of Amazon’s Heera Channel

Amazon just delivered another way to stream Bollywood movies. Heera is a new Amazon Video channel dedicated to Indian content that features more than 200 Hindi films.

Amazon Channels are add-ons to Amazon Prime that feature wider catalogs of films and shows than are included with the regular Prime package. They come with an additional subscription fee per channel, on top of the required Amazon Prime membership. You can’t subscribe to Amazon’s Heera channel without a Prime membership.

The amount of Indian content available for free with Amazon Prime is pretty minimal: 25 titles, and that includes documentaries and movies in languages other than Hindi. The Heera Channel adds 380 titles across five languages, including 206 Hindi movies, 70 Tamil films, 67 Bengali movies, 23 Marathi films, and 14 Telugu movies.

What’s more, Heera has recent blockbusters like Kapoor & Sons, Sultan, and Fan. None of those titles are presently available on Netflix, so Heera can help you catch up on the biggest hits of 2016.

If you’re not already an Amazon Prime member, click here to sign up for a 30-day free trial. Once you’re signed up for Prime, head to the Heera Channel page to sign up for a 7-day free trial of the streaming video channel. The regular subscription fee for Heera is $4.99 per month.

Since I already subscribe to Prime just for the free two-day shipping, paying another $4.99 per month for Heera seems like a good deal, at least in the short term. The value of any streaming service depends on the quality of its catalog, and I’ll be investigating Heera’s more thoroughly in the coming days. The channel subscription is month-to-month, so you can cancel anytime.

If you were going to join Prime just for the sake of Heera, it would cost you $15.98 per month: $10.99 for the Prime membership and $4.99 for the Heera Channel subscription. A full-year Prime membership costs $99 (or $8.25/month), dropping the monthly cost with a Heera subscription to $13.24. If you won’t use the other things Prime has to offer — like free shipping and access to the full Prime Video catalog — month-to-month is the way to go.

I’ll do a more in-depth investigation of Heera’s catalog and how it compares to the other streaming services in the future. [Update: Here it is!] In the meantime, this new streaming option is worth celebrating. The more Bollywood movies, the merrier!