Alibaba plans to launch short format video streaming service in India by April


Jack Ma-led Chinese Internet major Alibaba is planning to launch an over-the-top (OTT) video service in India in the next three months. The OTT service is likely to be launched in collaboration with its Indian portfolio Paytm and Alibaba’s media and entertainment unit UCWeb, reports The Ken.

Alibaba has been studying the market for over several months and its key executives are meeting content creators and production houses in Mumbai. For launching the video streaming service, the company is reportedly scouting to hire executives specialising in the video.

The tech behemoth is already on the lookout for two senior executives to head company’s new media business and a strategic alliance based out of Gurugram. Importantly, Facebook is also launching its original video offering ‘watch’ by March this year.

With OTT offerings Alibaba eyes at entertainment-centric short video space (less than 20 minutes). Short Videos are fast becoming the most popular form of content consumed in China. Alibaba sees huge potential for this format in India.

The report mentions that roughly the daily average views for the short videos are about 15 billion.

Currently, it has two content-based products – We-Media and UCWeb operational in India. With an initial investment of Rs 5 crore, We-Media made debut in India in March last year while UC News is present in India from June 2016.

Indian online video industry is expected to touch $1.6 billion in revenue by 2022, from the estimated $340 million in 2017, as per media research and consulting firm Media Partners Asia (MPA). Over the past two years, OTT space in India has been crowded as many players jumped on video streaming bandwagon.

In 2016, global online video streaming leaders including Netflix and Amazon Prime had made their entry into Indian market while Star-owned Hotstar, Voot (Viacom 18) and OZee (Zee TV) are also eyeing to grab a slice of fast-growing video consumption on the back of low-cost smartphones and cheap data packs.

Broadcaster Star India-owned video streaming app Hotstar commands top position in OTT space in India.

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