Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart plans to start a free Indian video streaming service in coming months, escalating a fight with Amazon.com Inc. by borrowing its arch-foe’s tactics.
India’s biggest online retailer plans to roll out video streaming for members of its Flipkart Plus loyalty program by September ahead of the peak Diwali shopping season, people familiar with its plans said. The service is currently in beta mode, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing internal strategy.
At first Flipkart won’t produce original content. They borrow the license content from Walt Disney Co. and local studios such as Balaji Telefilms.
Flipkart Plus video-streaming will come free just like its no-subscription fee loyalty program. Flipkart shoppers can become members by amassing 300 “super coins,” at a rate of 2 for every₹100 spent on its platform. Users can exchange those tokens for items from flight tickets and food delivery to car rentals and music streaming subscriptions.
The country has also become a battleground for global streaming giants from Netflix to Disney-owned Hotstar. They’re drawn by a market that could hit 829 million smartphone users by 2022, compared with about half a billion now, according to Cisco Systems Inc. estimates. The $500 million Indian video-streaming market could grow to 10 times that size by 2023, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group last year.