After years of speculation, Flipkart might be finally close to plugging the biggest gap in its portfolio when compared to arch-rival Amazon — video streaming.
Flipkart will launch a free video streaming service before Diwali for its ‘Plus’ premium subscribers, reports Network18. Flipkart Plus is Flipkart’s own loyalty program, which it had launched on 15th August last year. “Video was missing (in Flipkart’s offerins), and we will have it soon,” a source said. “Video has its own merits in a country that lives and breathes cinema,” they added.
Flipkart’s video launch had been widely anticipated after CEO Kalyan Krishnamurhty had said in December 2018 that the company would launch its own streaming service in the coming two years. He’d then said that Flipkart would either launch its own standalone service, or tie up with other streaming players. It’s still unclear what approach Flipart will take, but the accelerated timeline — a pre-Diwali launch would mean that Flipkart would’ve got its service up and running in three quarters, as opposed to two years — would suggest that it could be through a tie up.
There have previously been rumours that Flipkart would tie up with Hotstar for its streaming service, but there’s no clarity on whether that latest streaming effort would actually involve Hotstar. Flipkart and Hotstar have collaborated in the past — in September 2017, Flipkart had offered a discounted Hotstar subscription with its Festive Pass, which was an early experiment to take on Amazon Prime. The Festive Pass didn’t get much traction, but Flipkart is clearly hoping things are different with Flipkart Plus. Flipkart Plus has some things going for it — unlike Amazon Prime, which has a fee of Rs. 129 a month, Flipkart Plus is free, and is activated when a customer accumulates 300 Super Coins. Users get two super coins for spending every Rs. 100 on Flipkart, so anyone who’s spent over Rs. 15,000 on Flipkart could be eligible for Flipkart Plus, and, by extension, its video offering.
And a video service could end up being crucial if Flipkart is to compete with Amazon. Flipkart and Amazon have roughly similar product portfolios, roughly similar prices, and roughly similar delivery times, but where Amazon scores over Flipkart is its video offering in Amazon Prime Video. Amazon Prime doesn’t only come with its e-commerce benefits, but has Amazon Prime Video bundled in. This makes customers not only more likely to sign up with Amazon, but once signed up, also order more often from their site. Flipkart, for all its holiday sales and marketing blitzes, can’t compete with a repeat order generator like Amazon Prime.
Flipkart, understandably, is keen to get its video offering out as soon as possible, and could well roll it out in the next few months. And the Indian consumer, who already has no shortage of video service providers including Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar, Zee5, Voot and Alt Balaji, might soon have another video streaming option to choose from.