Major e-commerce and retail players, including Paytm, Future Group and Flipkart, are set to invest close to $100 million in procuring and incorporating entertainment content, in a bid to take on Amazon India.
According to sources, Paytm, which recently announced a host of new features in ‘Inbox’, its in-app messaging service, including live TV, news, cricket, entertainment videos and games, is planning to invest close to $30 million in this sector.
Kishore Biyani-led Future Group is planning to make significant investments in creating a separate entertainment vertical on the company’s various apps and has set aside close to $14.5 million for on-boarding artificial intelligence and machine learning on its platform to support entertainment content. It is also in talks with various entertainment content providers as well as movie theatre chains to provide tickets online as well as offline.
Flipkart, sources said, is looking at adding content to its portal. It has held talks with several players, but its plans have now been put on hold as it waits to complete the stake sale to Walmart Inc.
“This is the next logical step for the firm. This is one move that ensures that the customers stay on its app for hours together. They would be able to generate advertisement revenue as well as gain royalty from content providers,” said a source close to the company. After the completion of the Walmart deal, the company plans to invest close to $50 million in the initial phase to add entertainment content. Flipkart, however, refused to comment on the issue.
Sources said that the companies are likely to make the investments by the year-end.
According to experts, all these efforts are being to take on Amazon India, which has been bolstering its entertainment content by providing latest TV shows and films from India and abroad for its Prime members. Companies believe that entertainment ensures users stick to an app as they might not come on the portal on a daily basis otherwise to buy on the online marketplace.
While Paytm has kept its plans under wraps, it said adding entertainment would ensure that users who might be transacting once or twice a month would come more often to the portal. “If there are users who are doing one transaction a day or a single transaction a week, we can give them more value. We have millions of users, who we can capitalise on. We thought it would be a good way to make them spend more time on the app,” said Deepak Abbot, senior vice-president of Paytm.
The company initially would not have any original content but rely on content providers. “We will partner with content providers, help them distribute via Paytm App. We will become the chief distribution platform for them. We have millions of users, they have content. Major players find it difficult to generate traffic on their app,” said Abbot. Paytm is targeting 100 million users by the year-end and might get international content from Alibaba, which owns a production house.
Creating a war chest
- Paytm to invest $30 mn in Inbox, its in-app messaging service, which includes live TV, news, cricket, videos, games
- Future Group to invest $14.5 bn for on-boarding artificial intelligence on its platform to support entertainment content
- Flipkart to invest $50 mn to add entertainment content after the Walmart deal is done