By Prarthana Mitra
Having recently launched a video advertisement platform with Hotstar, Walmart-owned Flipkart is now reportedly eyeing a stake in Star India’s homegrown VoD platform, presumably to make a foray in the online streaming market. With Netflix India and Amazon Prime Video dominating the video content sector, along with Voot, Hoichoi and other vernacular platforms, this tie-up could be a massive disruption in the constantly evolving entertainment and retail industries in India.
Big move for Flipkart
Driven by the success of and demand for existing streaming portals, India’s largest online retailer may soon follow in Amazon’s footsteps, according to three sources close to the development. Besides giving existing VoD players stronger competition, this strategic alliance could potentially attract more Internet consumers and shoppers to Flipkart, and bump revenue in more ways than one.
Although talks are still in an initial stage, and both parties have denied the reports, it should not come as a complete surprise for those in the know-how. In fact, Hotstar happens to be one of the numerous digital partners that signed up to collaborate with Flipkart’s brand new customer loyalty programme Flipkart Plus in August. Furthermore, in July, Flipkart also launched a video advertisement service in collaboration Hotstar.
What led up to this?
At a time when content is key and all global players are betting big on the indefinite possibilities of streamable content, it is likely that Flipkart’s new chief executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy too has identified its potential and is trying to make up for lost time. Amazon which is its largest rival in the e-commerce sector is already ahead in the content generation game with Amazon Prime Video enjoying a successful run since its launch.
Flipkart hopes to achieve the same without having to set up a separate content division, and cater to the burgeoning demand for video content through a partnership with Hotstar’s streaming service. This prospective investment allegedly follows a series of abortive discussions with other popular streaming services and digital services, including Netflix and BookMyShow, for a potential alliance. It also lines up with Flipkart’s new aggressive campaign to buy out or invest in large tech startups, on Krishnamurthy’s watch.
However, Hotstar refused to fuel the speculation. “This query has no basis in facts. No such conversation is happening with Flipkart or any others. We are well resourced and on a velocity of growth that is ahead of almost every other consumer Internet company in India. As flattered as we are by the rumours, the service is too valuable for such conjectures to be even entertained,” a Hotstar spokeswoman told LiveMint in an emailed response to a query.
According to Business Today, Hotstar currently offers over 50,000 hours of TV, live broadcast and film content across eight languages.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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