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Flipkart forays into OTT space, to launch video streaming service before Diwali

A Flipkart delivery box with a Flipkart sticker

Walmart-owned Flipkart is planning to launch free video streaming services, ‘Flipkart Videos’ before Diwali this year, Moneycontrol reported. With this, Flipkart will be able to compete with its rival Amazon in the OTT division as well. In response to MediaNama’s query, Flipkart confirmed the development but had no official statement to share on this matter.

Citing sources, the Moneycontrol report also said that Flipkart is betting on Bollywood. It will provide content to its Flipkart Plus users for free. Flipkart Plus, unlike Amazon Prime, is not a subscription service, but a loyalty programme whereby users earn “Super Coins” on every purchase, and are made Flipkart Plus users when they spend a minimum amount in a year. The report also said that the streaming services would be integrated within the shopping app/website to create “stickiness”.

The sources also explained that unlike Amazon Prime, Flipkart will not have original content but will aggregate content from producers. The success of the video streaming service, according to Moneycontrol, will depend on Flipkart’s ability to get as many exclusive rights as possible.

According to the PTI report, the video service will be ad-supported. The content will include short films, full-length movies and episodic series. It is also in talks with many content makers to expand the library. “We have a lot of investment going into this. Apart from shopping, we also want users to spend time on the platform and engage. We will use content as an engagement opportunity … we will continue being an e-commerce platform,” Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy told PTI.

Flipkart to introduce new features ahead of festive sales

The PTI report also said that Flipkart will make its shopping platform available in vernacular languages. Citing Krishnamurthy, the PTI added that the introduction of Hindi on the platform will help it expand access to the next 200 million internet users. While it will begin with Hindi, Flipkart plans to add other vernacular languages like Tamil, Telugu and Bengali.

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Apart from this, Flipkart is also introducing ‘Flipkart Ideas’ (content feeds) to assist customers during shopping. Initially, content from over 30 brands and 400 influencers will be showcased along with associated products in all multimedia formats such as videos, GIFs, images, stories, quizzes and polls. This content feed is aimed at helping the customer narrow down on their choices.

Competing in OTT space

This is not the first time that Flipkart has attempted to enter into the OTT market. In September 2018, a Livemint report said that the e-commerce company had held talks for acquiring a stake in Star India’s video-streaming service Hotstar. However, the talks are yet to reach an advanced stage.

With this foray, Flipkart will now also compete with Amazon Prime which offers online video and music streaming services for an annual subscription fee of ₹999 and ₹129 a month. It will also compete with other notable OTT players such as Netflix, Hotstar, Voot, AirtelTV and many others.

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