Paytm to enter crowded OTT space, forms content partnerships

Paytm to enter crowded OTT space, forms content partnerships
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: VCCircle
14 Jan, 2019

Digital payments company Paytm is entering the over the top (OTT) space with video partnerships, a report in The Economic Times stated. This will be the wallet firm’s second attempt at content after it launched short videos on its app and formed OTT partnerships with channels like SonyLIV, short videos from FunkYou and YuppTV for news updates.

Paytm has started hiring a team to set in place content partnerships, the ET report added.

In January 2018, news reports indicated that Alibaba, an investor in Paytm, was planning to launch content in India through Paytm and UCNews, the news aggregation platform of UCWeb Inc, a business arm of Alibaba Mobile Business Group. There were also reports of Paytm acquiring UCWeb’s India operations, which UCWeb denied.

With this move, SoftBank-backed Paytm will enter a space dominated by HotStar and Netflix. The strategy is also similar to that being pursued by Amazon through its content offering, Amazon Prime Video which is bundled with the Prime subscription with advantages like early and free delivery, access to music and video, among others.

Walmart-backed Flipkart is also said to be launching its content platform, for which it was initially looking to acquire HotStar.

After launching its e-commerce vertical Paytm Mall, the company is now adding content and gaming to its platform for its users. In August, One97, Paytm’s parent company, moved its executive Sudhanshu Gupta to head Gamepind, its joint venture in gaming with Alibaba-owned AGTech Holdings. Paytm said in January 2018 that it was revamping its gaming services vertical.

Alibaba has a proven strategy in gaming and content in its home country China. In India, Paytm will have to contend with existing players such as Netflix, which has a strong focus on creating local content for the Indian market. The OTT space in the country is predicted to grow to $5 billion, according to a report by consulting firm BCG. Further, monetisation remains a key issue to be resolved in the India market.

Separately, Gaurav Jindal, partner at BCG, told TechCircle that unlike China, India has a better suite of programmes on TV and it might be difficult to grow the OTT market at the cost of TV viewership.