Walmart plans to launch a new video streaming service from its Flipkart subsidiary in India as part of its battle with Amazon, according to a report from Bloomberg. The service will reportedly be free for members of the Flipkart Plus loyalty program, according to unnamed sources with knowledge of the plans. Walmart acquired the Indian retailer in May last year for $16 billion in what was the world’s largest e-commerce acquisition at the time.
Although Flipkart’s service bears a passing resemblance to Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service, Bloomberg’s report suggests that it will operate very differently. For one, Flipkart doesn’t plan to initially produce any of its own shows. Instead, it will rely on licensing content from the likes of Disney and Balaji Telefilms. Flipkart Plus also works much more like a traditional loyalty program than the subscription-based Amazon Prime, which costs 999 rupees (around $14) a year in India. Instead, you become a Plus member by earning 300 “super coins” as you spend money with the retailer. Spending 100 rupees (around $1.40) nets you two coins.
The Walmart subsidiary will face stiff competition from India’s video streaming market, which is no less crowded than it is in the US. Along with international players like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, India also has its own collection of services like JioCinema, Hooq, and Voot that will be less familiar to Western audiences.
There’s no suggestion that Flipkart has any plans for its video streaming service to be launched outside of the Indian market. However, Walmart and Amazon’s rivalry is just as fierce in the US as it is in India, where Walmart already owns the Vudu streaming service and is reportedly planning to produce original content. If its Indian streaming efforts are a success, then it theoretically has the tools to make a similar attempt Stateside.