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Alibaba Raises Bet on India’s $2.0 Billion Digital Video Market

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Jun. 3 2019, Updated 10:48 a.m. ET

Alibaba expands Vmate’s war chest

Alibaba (BABA) has injected an additional $100 million of cash in its Indian social video service, Vmate, according to a TechCrunch report. Vmate launched in 2016 and operates under Alibaba’s browser subsidiary UC Web. Vmate, which has attracted over 30 million users globally, will use the new funding from Alibaba to expand its business.

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Foreign digital video providers in India

Alibaba’s move to shore up Vmate comes amid tightening competition to dominate India’s digital video scene. Google (GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN), and Facebook (FB) are among the foreign technology giants vying with Alibaba for control of India’s digital video market. Google’s YouTube is one of the leading destinations for digital video in India. Amazon provides digital video entertainment as part of its Prime membership program, which is available in India. The Prime program is an important tool for Amazon in building a loyal retail customer base. The company said last year that it has more than 100 million Prime members worldwide. Facebook last year secured the rights to show Spanish La Liga soccer matches to its audience in India for three seasons.

Netflix (NFLX), another leading digital subscription video provider in India, recently appointed a new head of original content for its Indian operations, as reported by the Economic Times.

Alibaba’s sights are on $2.0 billion digital video prize in India

India’s digital video market presents an attractive revenue opportunity. According to IHS Markit, India’s digital video market, comprising advertising and subscription sales, was worth $558.2 million in 2018. India’s digital video market is forecast to reach $2.0 billion by 2022. Alibaba has its sight on this revenue opportunity is it builds up Vmate.

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