Being a late entrant in the video streaming space, the obvious challenge for Flipkart (which launched its video streaming platform in August last year) has been to offer a compelling reason for consumers to watch its content. The first thing it did was to offer its content as part of its marketplace app and that too absolutely free. The e-commerce marketplace boasts of having a consumer base of 200 million, 75 per cent of which come from Tier 2 and 3 markets. "The vision is to democratise content. There are large numbers of Indians, especially those in the heartland who want to consume content but are not able to do so because they have to pay," says Prakash Sikaria, Vice-President (Growth & Monetisation), Flipkart.
Flipkart's game plan is not just to focus on the Tier 2 and 3 markets; it also plans to design snackable content which people can watch on their mobile screens. After all, 80 per cent of Indians consume content on their mobile phones. The marketplace is all set to launch its first original fiction, Zindagi In Short which has been produced by Oscar-winning director, Guneet Monga's Sikhya Entertainment. An anthology of seven short films, all the characters are in Zindagi In Short are inspired by small-town India. The directors of these short-films are first-time directors and Sikaria says that the idea is to stand-out from the existing OTT players by getting new content makers to create content, rather than getting the legacy content houses to produce content. The likes of Amazon and Netflix are known to be spending upwards of Rs 2 crore per episode for their original content. "We have not cut any corners to be cost effective. The decision was driven by the idea that we have to empower. Technology is all about empowering a large set of people, to democratise content and get large set of creators to come to the ecosystem. We want to do more of it. Our focus would be on younger creators," said Sikaria.
The plan clearly is to be experimental. Sikaria hints that one could even see user-generated content on his platform. "If you think about mobile as a device, it has a camera and internet. Our first step was to get new creators. Now, how do we get our audience to co-create content?" he asks. ZEE5, Zee Entertainment's OTT platform, has also recently announced the launch of Hypershots, where it plans 90-second user-generated content. So, like ZEE5, does Flipkart also aspire to compete with the likes of TikTok? Sikaria doesn't wish to reveal too much. "Don't think one can beat TikTok in their game, I will leave it to that," he says.