Flipkart forays into original video content, takes on Amazon and Netflix

Farah Khan with Prakash Sikaria, vice-president (growth and monetisation) at Flipkart announces the launch of the firm’s first non-fiction series Backbenchers
Walmart-owned e-commerce major Flipkart is foraying into offering original video content with the launch of Flipkart Video Originals. 

Integrated within the Flipkart Video platform, launched in August, Flipkart Video Originals will be produced by well-known industry figures. Flipkart said it will produce “bespoke snackable content” that is both mobile-first and interactive. 

“All the main players are primarily anchored around fictional content,” said Prakash Sikaria, vice-president, growth and monetisation at Flipkart, adding that while other over-the-top (OTT) platforms are focused on metropolitan centres, Flipkart would look at Tier-II and –II cities. 

This take the Flipkart vs Amazon fight beyond online retail to video as well. Amazon had launched its video platform, Amazon Prime in December 2016, and has since built up a strong fan base with popular shows such as Made in Heaven, Mirzapur, and the recent Manoj Bajpayee-starrer The Family Man.  

The first creator to join Flipkart’s initiative is Academy Award-winner Guneet Monga, who has come on board as the official creator and curator of short stories for the platform. 

In the months to come, Flipkart will work with renowned industry talent and production houses such as Studio Next, Frames and Sikhya Productions, to bring forth first-of-its-kind content across genres and languages. 

The first original series Backbenchers hosted by Farah Khan goes live later this month and will feature an array of India’s most-loved celebrities, engaging in nostalgic banter, which will have the audience coming back for more.

“Flipkart Video is offering a great platform for content creators to engage with a customer base of over 160 million people across India, through a unique storytelling format,” said Guneet Monga. “I am excited to be collaborating with Flipkart to cater to today's demand for short-form content, at the convenience of mobile phones. It's great to witness that Flipkart Video Originals is enabling filmmakers to share their stories,” said Monga.

Sikaria of Flipkart said when the company unveiled Video platform earlier this year, the aim was to play a role in on-boarding new customers who are not necessarily new to the internet but are new to e-commerce. Within the first two months of the launch of Flipkart Video, the firm said it was overwhelmed with the positive response it received from consumers.  “We saw an opportunity to create great video content which is easier for people to consume and is mobile-first,” said Sikaria.