Flipkart, the Walmart-owned e-commerce platform, has launched Flipkart Video Originals, two months after it introduced a free video streaming service to draw new users from small towns and cities in India.

Prakash Sikaria, vice president/growth and monetization at Flipkart, explained that the company saw an existing gap that needed to be filled. “We saw an opportunity to create great video content which is easier for people to consume, which is mobile-first,” he said in a statement.

“From short stories created by award-winning producers to entertainment shows featuring the leading talent from Bollywood, we believe that our platform will have something special for every consumer.”

Academy Award-winner Guneet Monga has joined the platform as the official creator and curator of short stories. The company will also be working with Studio Next, Frames and Sikhya Productions in the coming months.

The platform’s first original series titled ‘Backbenchers’, hosted by Bollywood director Farah Khan, will go live on October 19 and will follow a talk-show format with leading celebrities being quizzed by the host.

Flipkart currently claims 160 million customers in India and recently introduced a Hindi interface on its platform with the aim to engage 200 million customers.

The company is also targeting the next 200 million consumers who are coming online, leveraging video content and entertainment to then persuade consumers to also shop online.

The move not only pits the e-commerce platform against Amazon and its Prime Video offering, which was launched in December 2016, but also bolsters Flipkart’s value proposition to consumers in an already competitive OTT landscape.

There are currently more than 35 players jostling for position in India’s OTT market, including unexpected entrants like food delivery firm Zomato which in September launched a series of Zomato Original shows that can be streamed within its app, in a similar push to attract and convert content-consuming viewers.

“Video is definitely going to increase Zomato’s engagement,” Durga Raghunath, Zomato senior vice-president of growth, told the Financial Times. “At this point it’s really about studying user behaviour and we’ve not yet decided on the way forward in terms of revenue. We’re trying to find our own model.”

Whatever the revenue model, local, mobile-optimised content is likely to be key to success. And marketers looking to tap the OTT market to engage with consumers will need to establish the right use case and define what good ROI should look like for their brand. (For more read WARC’s report: Capitalising on India’s growing OTT space.)

Sourced from The Drum, Inc42, Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff