Flipkart starts rolling out free Amazon Prime-like video service

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Flipkart, Amazon’s biggest competitor in India, has started rolling out a video streaming service on its mobile app similar to Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

The service is very similar to other streaming apps, and offers videos classified into different sections based on genres and languages.

Both movie and non-movie content are available.

Non-movie content, termed as ‘shows’, are divided into sections such as ‘reality’, ‘talk’ and so on, while movies are divided into genres like drama, comedy, romance and so on.

Interestingly, the roll-out also changes the appearance of the Flipkart app.

While the current app looks like any online shopping app, with the upgrade, shopping becomes only one of the several tabs. The other tabs are ‘Video’, ‘Games’, ‘Supercoins’ and ‘Ideas’.

This is a different approach to that of Amazon, which has launched separate apps for each of its services. Amazon, for example, has a separate app for Prime Video, another for Prime Audio and yet another for Audible, its podcasting service.

While having separate apps helps to keep each of them manageable in size, it also requires consumers to be reminded to download each of them.

In case of Flipkart’s, it looks like anyone who has installed the mother app will get access to the video service within, as and when Flipkart activates it for them.

FLIPKART FREE Vs AMAZON PAID

Another interesting aspect of Flipkart’s service seems to be its general availability, unlike Amazon Prime and Netflix. Several users who are not on its loyalty program, called Flipkart Plus, have had the video tab activated on their Flipkart app.

The Walmart subsidiary has already indicated that it is not looking at videos as a business, but as a customer retention tool.

Rival Amazon too uses its video and audio service as free addons, but only for those who have purchased its Prime subscription, priced at Rs 999 per year. Prime also comes with benefits such as free shipping on Amazon-fulfilled items and early access to certain deals and offers.

However, Flipkart’s strategy is somewhat different, as it seems not to restrict videos to members of its ‘Plus’ program.

Moreover, Flipkart’s Plus membership is not something that you can, or need to, purchase separately. It can be activated by anyone who has spent at least Rs 15,000 in the last 12 months on the website.

Once joined, a user has to keep spending at least Rs 7,500 per year on Flipkart to remain a Plus member.

Flipkart has given indications that it wants the video service to get its users into the habit of clicking on its app every day. Once they get used to opening the Flipkart every day to watch videos, it is believed, they will be more likely to use the app to make their purchases as well.

Flipkart is expected to have tied up with content makers such as Viacom, Balaji Telefilms and possible Zee Entertainment to source videos for their apps.

However, more premium content, from the likes of Netflix and Amazon, are unlikely to turn up on Flipkart Video, at least for now.

Like the other platforms, Flipkart will be using technology and algorithms to suggest suitable videos for its users, based on their past viewing habits.

Like Netflix and Spotify, a first-time user of Flipkart Video is asked to select titles he or she likes from a list shown on the screen to provide basic data to the algorithm.

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