Here’s why Flipkart is betting big on interactive content for Flipkart Video
Through the use of branching technology, Flipkart is trying to enhance consumer experience by giving people the power to be an active part of the narrative and control itFlipkart
With the increase of its portfolio of interactive content, Flipkart has seen a 10X growth in time spent by users on Fli...

Here’s why Flipkart is betting big on interactive content for Flipkart Video

With the increase of its portfolio of interactive content, Flipkart has seen a 10X growth in time spent by users on Fli...
  • Flipkart launched its original content offering Flipkart Video in 2019 and since then has expanded its content offering from non-fiction shows to now interactive content to engage more deeply with consumers.
  • Prakash Sikaria - Senior Vice President, Growth & Monetisation, Flipkart tells us why video has played an important role in keeping people engaged on its platform and why interactive content will increasingly play an important role on the platform.
Over the last few years, the availability of cheaper smartphones and data plans have opened up the world of content for people across the length and breadth of the country. Indians are watching more video content, and a lot of it on their phones, than ever before.

E-commerce platform Flipkart identified this massive opportunity and launched Flipkart Video in 2019. The initial insight was there was a dearth of content that was specifically made for mobile screens. Flipkart Video launched with a lot of non-fiction content, and it has worked well for the platform.

Since the launch of videos on its platform, Flipkart has seen people spending more and more time consuming their content. Having launched with a lot of non-fiction shows, Flipkart is now also experimenting with interactive content. What is attracting consumers towards this differentiated content is also the fact it comes with commerce-linked rewards.

In a recent conversation with Prakash Sikaria - Senior Vice President, Growth & Monetisation, Flipkart, we tried to understand what kind of growth its video offering has witnessed since its launch, why consumers are choosing to watch content on an e-commerce platform and the way brands are leveraging this.


Q) It’s been 2 years since the launch of Flipkart Video. Can you give me a sense of the kind of reception it has got so far? Has there been a direct growth in the time spent on your app post the launch of Flipkart Video?
When we launched in 2019, research showed that 80% of Indians were consuming content on their mobile phones, but most shows available back then were only made for streaming on large screens. We launched Flipkart video to fill that need gap. As we iterated to find our sweet spot, we have zeroed on short-form professional content and interactivity. Over the last year, we have built a unique interactive content library that unlocks various commerce-linked rewards. This has turned out to be a key differentiator for Flipkart Video today. Users effectively engage with the content and win tangible prizes, further elevating their journey on the platform and giving them stronger reasons to keep coming back.

Since the onset of the pandemic, people are spending a lot of time on their smartphones, more than ever before, and are always looking for entertaining content. To leverage this trend, as we increased our portfolio of interactive content, we have witnessed a 10X growth in time spent by users on Flipkart Video. The wide choice of content has kept users meaningfully engaged, also leading to almost perfect episode completion rates.

Q) People primarily go on a platform like Flipkart to shop. How have you been able to make people watch content on your platform, considering there is an abundance of content available on other platforms?
Our focus is to bring value to consumers, through carefully tailored offerings and this applies to our Video platform too. We saw a unique opportunity to create great video content which is easier for people to consume and is mobile-first, and tried to grab it. Given the snackable nature of the content we make, it fits very well within our e-commerce app. Now we see other apps across the board are also trying to copy our strategy.

Our approach to content creation is data-backed. We also invest deeply in product/tech innovations. Relevant content backed with best-in-class technology is laying the foundations for a unique mobile-first entertainment experience. We had many industry-first launches. From short stories created by award-winning producers to entertainment shows featuring the leading talent from Bollywood and the Television industry, we believe that our platform has something special for every consumer. Our rewards experience seamlessly integrates the commerce platform with the Video offering and this gives people a good reason to come back to the app on a daily basis.

Q) We have seen a few OTT platforms experiment with interactive content technology. Tell me a bit about Branching Technology. What were the insights that led to the launch of Branching Technology?
At Flipkart Video, the original content that we create is a result of a deep understanding of the evolving needs of our consumer. We are invested in constantly innovating show formats, offering something new and exciting, and giving people a reason to come back to the app daily.

In order to build a more active and immersive entertainment experience, we need to give the audience as much control over the content as possible. Letting the audience become a part of the narrative creates a very compelling and immersive experience. We worked on content that audiences preferred and have a big affinity to, including crime and thriller genres. We also know that India has always been big on detective and crime shows. To this effect, at the start of this year we forayed into interactive crime fiction with the launch of Kaun? Who Did it? and Crime Stories. With the return of Crime Stories Season2, we saw it as the perfect time to take our interactive offering a step further, introduce branching technology and enhance the consumer experience by giving people the power to be an active part of the narrative and control it.

Q) Is there a scope for brands to use the technology, becoming a part of the content storyline? Are brands a part of the investigative drama series, ‘Crime Stories’?
Our focus is to create solutions that are supported by technology and great agility. Everything that we develop is therefore designed in a way that offers plenty of opportunities to constantly innovate, whether it is for a launch of a new product or service or helping people and communities during a time of need, it can all be seamlessly facilitated through the video platform. The newly launched ‘branching technology’ feature has potential for brands to collaborate in future shows. We consistently work towards making such innovations accessible to larger ecosystems so that we can create an environment that is flexible, enabling mutually beneficial partnerships. This can be seen in the work done with brands like Hindustan Unilever amongst others. As a part of Hindustan Unilever’s Lifebuoy partnership with Flipkart Video’s Entertainer No. 1, participating audiences needed to follow a simple 3-step process to submit their entertaining entry to the show, based on weekly themes. For every entry that was uploaded, an essential kit was donated. This collaboration not only used entertainment as a platform but also gave participants a chance to play a positive role in giving back to those in need.

Q) What kind of enthusiasm have you seen from brands to make use of Flipkart video? How have they been using it innovatively to build a stronger connect with their audiences?
Brands have been extremely enthusiastic about partnering with us in different ways. So far, the platform has collaborated with leading consumer electronics and lifestyle brands through bespoke content that very seamlessly integrates their brand proposition into FKV’s interactive shows such as Bid & Win, Power Play with Champions and Daam Sahi Hai. Opportunities to integrate vary from our ad inventory across static and video formats, targeted reward mechanisms where brands can sponsor rewards for specific audience sets, full-fledged content integrations through product placements, dedicated segments and even entirely brand/product driven shows.

We recently helped launch the OPPO Reno 6 Pro 5G with a game show hosted by their brand ambassador. The interactive format allowed for an engaging experience over 5 days with the winners getting a chance to win the smartphone itself.

Q) What kind of content do you already have on the platform and how are you further expanding your library?
Our current focus is to build a mobile-first entertainment experience that allows for shorter bursts of time investment by our audiences. All of our shows across genres follow a longer duration of seasons (30-60 episodes minimum) with a new episode dropping daily rather than a binge format. This is what sets us apart from other content platforms that are available.

We will continue to expand our range of interactive fiction and non-fiction shows across formats, while continuing to monitor evolving consumer behaviour to solve for future gaps.