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How Paytm and Future Group plan to take on Amazon Prime, Netflix and others


Content is the new battleground for e-commerce players in India. Soon, there would be a race amongst Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm and Future Group for procuring exclusive rights of movies, series and incorporating a vast amount of local content to keep users hooked for a maximum time.

Following the footstep and quick adoption of Amazon Prime and Netflix, Paytm and Future Group have been ramping up their content play. While Paytm has allocated about $30 million fund for strengthening its content offerings, Future Group already has set up a vertical for fostering content and entertainment business.

The SoftBank and Alibaba backed company, as well as the Kishore Biyani-led group, want their existing customer base to spend more time and transact often through comprehensive investment in content, reports Business Standard.

Recently, Paytm’s chat interface Inbox integrated a slew of daily engagement services such as live television, news, cricket, entertainment videos, and games. Currently, Inbox claims 120 million users, and the company wants more engagement on the app through a combination of original and exclusive (via partnership) content.

Importantly, Alibaba has also been working with Paytm and its media and entertainment unit UCWeb to launch an OTT platform meant for the Indian market.

The yet to be launched platform targets at entertainment-centric short video space (less than 20 minutes). For several past years, short videos have become the most popular form of content consumed in China. Alibaba sees huge potential for this format in India.

With the support of Alibaba international content business, Paytm aims to achieve 100 million users by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Future Group is reportedly in talks with content providers for potential partnership. It’s worth noting that this would be the second attempt for Biyani in the content business. Earlier he produced two unsuccessful Bollywood flicks including Hrithik Roshan starer Na Tum Jaano Na Hum.

Besides partnering content creators, Future Group also plans to sell movie tickets online and through its brick & mortar outlets.

Over the past couple of years, viewership of Hotstar, Amazon Prime and Netflix have grown at a decent pace. According to a recent report by Counterpoint, Hotstar has about 75 million monthly users while Amazon Prime which comes with monthly and annual subscription plan has 11 million MAUs.

Despite Netflix’s claim of having 5X growth in India, it has only 5 million MAUs.  To reach out to a large population, the US video streaming giant has been talking to Reliance Jio for exclusive partnership. It also set a budget of Rs 2,000 crore for acquiring content in India.

Since the video is expected to dominate two-thirds of content consumption over the Internet by 2021, fight for wooing users through exclusive video content would be a priority for all e-commerce players.

Going forward it would be worthwhile to watch how content bets of e-commerce players evolve and pan out.

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