In conversation with Social Samosa, Prakash Sikaria, VP- Flipkart puts the spotlight on the video consumption space in India and Flipkart Video originals content strategy.
“Video consumption is significantly increased in India given the low data prices and our passion and craze for good storytelling,” shares Sikaria. According to him, in the next 2-3 years, India would be one of the largest nations of digital video consumers. And Flipkart as a consumer Internet Company saw it as a great opportunity to engage with its customers which is also one of the reasons why they have put the Flipkart Video on the same app.
Why foray into the original content space?
Sikaria explains that the idea is as you engage with the consumers on the content side, the company onboards them on its digital journey and gradually graduate them into commerce. “Now when we think about videos as large, we see mobile penetration and mobile consumption of videos being a primary driver in India. About 80% of consumption in India happens in India,” he briefed.
He added further, “Also, when we look at all the OTT platforms around, there is 40-45 minute chunky content that is not mobile-friendly. So our original programming is to fill that gap. How to get powerful stories done by great creators but still snackable in short form which is much more suited for a mobile platform.”
When Flipkart Originals was launched last year, it was pegged as ‘Flipkart to take on Amazon Prime and Netflix’. We asked Sikaria was that the agenda to which he replied saying it was never the objective and just media’s interpretation.
He shared, “The strategies are very different. This is free to all platforms whereas the platforms that you talked about are subscription led. And it changes things dramatically. If you see all the OTT platforms that are largely pay based, the programming and the kind of content that they make is much centered on audiences in metros. Whereas a free to air platform like ours is largely focused on tier 2 or tier 3 cities – 75% of our consumption comes from there”.
About one to two percent of the content consuming audience today has the propensity to pay. And what it does is the choice of content that you do is very different. A large part of that paying population sits in metros. Sikaria states that Flipkart Video Originals and other OTT platforms are completely serving two different niches, needs, and business strategies and the comparison is unwarranted.
Shedding light on Flipkart Originals’ content strategy, he observed that there are two layers. One insight is that India is a very diverse country- which would mean that Flipkart doesn’t have to make all the content. “There is a lot of great content that already exists. We want to be enabler and access provider to that content and that is where our aggregation strategy comes in play which we started last year in August,” Sikaria added.
The other gap Flipkart sees is mobile-specific content is not created much while there is an extreme amount of meat for that. And here is where its original strategy comes. How do you create mobile-specific content? When you think of mobile there are two dimensions to it- one is short-form snackable content while keeping the storytelling and quality guardrails extremely high.
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Sikaria commented, “That space we believe is a lacuna. People have to go to the UGC platform to satiate that need. The other piece is interactive content. Mobile as a device has mic, camera, interactivity, internet- you can create different kinds of content through it. But most of the OTT continues to do binge-watch long-form web series which can be done better”.
Hence, Flipkart video originals will focus on mobile-specific content and aggregation would allow it to give large diversity to the audiences that are watching.
Given that Flipkart is a transaction led platform, Sikaria claims that it is already seeing a tremendous amount of interest among brands to engage in monetization/ads. “Monetisation is not a key focus now but that’s definitely the business model strategy going forward”.
Watch the full video below to know more about Sikaria’s views on influencer marketing in today’s age, the metrics to measure the success of a content piece, digital marketing strategy and more.