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:
— Josh (@HatefulJosh) January 5, 2018
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.