Walmart’s Flipkart Launches Free Video Streaming Service In India

Flipkart on smartphone

Walmart-owned eCommerce firm Flipkart is introducing a Hindi version of its app that will include free videos as well as other tech perks, like premium content, TechCrunch reported on Tuesday (Aug. 5). 

Flipkart’s ultimate goal is to lure 200 million online consumers with streaming movies, shows and entertainment in direct competition with rival Amazon, which is rolling out eCommerce in India with Reliance Industries, the news outlet said.

“In the past 10 years, our vision and ethos have been … to create India specific tech solutions here. What we are rolling out when it comes to addressing the needs of the next 200 million users in our country, is taking forward those founding principles of access and affordability,” Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart Group, said in the report. “We strongly believe that the next phase of our growth is rooted in loyalty.”

The company plans to offer the app in other languages, including Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali, by using technology to solve language barrier issues. 

“As per research, 90 percent of new internet users in India are native language speakers and coming from Tier 2 and beyond cities,” said Jeyandran Venugopal, head consumer experience and platform at Flipkart.

“We are partnering with (various) players to get the content,” said Prakash Sikaria, head growth and monetization, Flipkart.

Both Flipkart and Amazon have struggled to meet the deadlines and requirements for the new eCommerce laws in India this year. Both retailers had to overhaul ownership structures and change vendor relationships. Under the new rules, foreign eCommerce companies are prohibited from owning a large stake in local online retailers and are prohibited from inking exclusive deals with merchants. Critics of Amazon and Flipkart contend the eCommerce heavy hitters have created sellers or vendors they have a direct or indirect stake in so that they can offer deeply discounted items.

Another result of the new rules is that eCommerce companies may not be able to use exclusivity when rolling out new products on their platforms. The rules prevent online merchants from getting vendors to sell products exclusively with them on their platform. The contracts have to be worded in a way that allows brands the freedom to sell to rivals directly.