Flipkart-Amazon Battle Gets Intense - On the Video Streaming Front
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Video streaming is becoming the hotspot of opportunities, especially in India. As more and more people are getting interested in consuming the premium content, the scope for more players to enter the digital space is swelling. Contemplating the boundless potential, the once India’s most successful technology startup, Flipkart has decided to launch its free Indian video streaming service.
The Walmart-owned entity is looking to take its arch-rival Amazon head-on in the Indian market. After challenging the American giant’s e-commerce presence, Flipkart will now battle for getting validated in the video streaming space, simultaneously stepping on the market share of other major players, namely Netflix, Alt Balaji, Zee5, MX Player, Eros Now, Voot and others.
Paid or Not?
At a time when Amazon is planning to double down its video offering in the country, Flipkart’s strategic foray in the streaming space could prove to be a turning stone in the nation’s OTT journey. As part of its efforts to woo the next 200 million internet users onto its platform, Flipkart would make the service available in vernacular languages.
Staying in-line with India’s spirit of Aur Dikhao, Aur Dikhao, Flipkart’s streaming service would be free in nature but will lack the original content initially. The content available will be a mix of short films, full-length movies and episodic series. To make the catalogue more engaging, Flipkart will also aggregate content from content producers like Walt Disney Co and Balaji Telefilms.
"Our video content offering is focused on three primary aspects, keeping in mind our understanding of the market: free, curated and personalised. We believe that our customers shouldn't pay extra for premium content and hence, our offering is different from anything else that is currently available," Flipkart Head Growth and Monetisation Prakash Sikaria explained.
Not having a paid subscription widens Flipkart’s appeal to people who want to watch movies and shop simultaneously. However, the video streaming service 'Flipkart Videos' will be ad-supported. Players like MX Player, currently having 176 million monthly active users and Netflix with 11 million users have recently started developing original content.
The Immense Competition
For both, the initial strategy was to acquire rights for external content, which worked well. However, there’s still a distance to be travelled before Originals becomes a core differentiating strategy for any one brand. Talking to PTI, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy shared that a large number of youngsters are spending their time online consuming content across platforms and that is an audience that the company would want to capture.
Unlike other OTT platforms, the homegrown player Hotstar feeds of live streaming sports matches, the four-year rights for which they acquired in April 2018. As the competition grows, so does the opportunities for producing a variety of content. OTT platforms can keep locking horns for better reach but the audience emerges as the real winners due to the end result - great content.
“We believe that the competitive environment means that people will have a lot of choices, which is good for the market and good for customers. We’re staying focused on creating great content and great product experience, which we hope will delight fans of movies and TV shows throughout India,” said a Netflix spokesperson.
Among the other homegrown players, Voot, Sony LIV, Eros Now and Zee5 have been enjoying leverage over others due to their broadcast background but it is their exclusive content which differentiates them. The Indian over-the-top content market is expected to reach $5 million by 2023. While the industry has enough space to accommodate more players, it would be interesting to see who leads the game.