Flipkart in talks to pick up a stake in Hotstar: Report

Flipkart in talks to pick up a stake in Hotstar: Report
17 Sep, 2018

Homegrown e-commerce giant Flipkart has held discussions with video streaming service Hotstar to buy a stake in the Star India unit, according to Mint report which cited three people familiar with the matter.

The potential size of the stake and value of the deal were not specified.

A Hotstar spokesperson denied that any such talks had taken place while Flipkart did not respond to requests for comment.

Should a deal happen, it would mark Walmart-owned Flipkart’s entry into the country’s booming video streaming space and take its rivalry with chief e-commerce competitor Amazon to another vertical.

Amazon offers video streaming via its Prime Video platform. It bundles its video streaming service as part of its Prime subscription programme, which also includes faster delivery and a music streaming service.

Hotstar, which offers both free and premium content, is among the most popular streaming apps on the Android and iOS stores with more than 10 million downloads. A Hotstar executive recently said that the platform draws 150 million monthly active users.

“It is by far the largest streaming platform, outside of the United States and China. We remain open to partnerships that can help grow the Internet ecosystem in India and beyond,” said a Hotstar spokesperson.

Flipkart and Hotstar already have a couple of existing partnerships.

In July, they joined hands to launch a new advertising platform that aims to capitalise on their massive combined reach.  

Flipkart also recently tied up with Hotstar for its second loyalty programme called Flipkart Plus to boost customer retention while competing with Amazon Prime.

Flipkart has explored digital entertainment in the past with its Flyte MP3 Store which sold legal digital music. It was launched in 2012 but shut down a year later after failing to take off.

Meanwhile, cheap mobile data has triggered the growth of video streaming in India and big names are betting heavily on content.

Global streaming giant Netflix has invested large sums in India, Google-owned YouTube is bringing original content to the country while Reliance Jio is also exploring exclusive video content.

In June, Times Internet Ltd (TIL), the digital business arm of media conglomerate Times Group, said that it is planning a foray into video streaming with the acquisition of South Korea-based video platform MX Player for Rs 1,000 crore (around $147 million).