SHAREit, the Chinese app that shot to fame for making transferring of files faster than Bluetooth possible, has graduated into a major content provider in India after it acquired FastFilmz, a well known OTT platform of southern India in May this year.
This USD 13 million acquisition will allow its 400 million plus Indian users to both enjoy and share content via its platform.
Speaking to The Passage, FastFilmz co-founder Karam Malhotra, who took charge of SHAREit (India) as its CEO following the takeover, said the new SHAREit platform would offer regional cinema on its platform. He added that FastFilmz so far only streamed Malayalam, Tamil and Telegu content. But following the takeover the team would now look to expand its range to include movies made in other Indian languages.
“We are aggressively going after the Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Bhojpuri language markets and definitely expanding our content base, because SHAREit userbase in India is broad and we have to provide customers with content, as that is what they expect,” Malhotra said. "As an app, FastFilmz will now be integrated with the whole SHAREit platform. So, all our content, product features and even our subscribers are being now moved to SHAREit,” he added.
Asked what prompted SHAREit to transform from a file-sharing platform to a content provider, Malhotra explained, “Sharing is the most fundamental human behaviour. Most of the contents shared on our platform are media – movies, audios and videos. Typically, users first hunt for content on Youtube, use some other platform to download it and then use SHAREit, as third party app in the whole process, to share the content. That is why Facebook is such an amazing company because human beings like to share things. And people like to share media and content. So, we thought it would be a good idea for content acquisition to happen on SHAREit as well. They can get all that on SHAREit.” This assumption is backed by SHAREit’s users’ behaviour history.
Karam added, “For the past 3 years, SHAREit started as an easy and simple utility tool that enabled users to transfer files without internet connection. This feature has brought success through the big market penetration in the beginning years. From this success we have understood more of users’ needs and behaviour. Besides file transferring, they also want to discover and watch contents, that’s why we have shaped our brand-new strategy where people can discover, consume, and share contents on our platform according to their lifestyle and preferences.”
The question that still looms large is how SHAREit would hold its own against more premium content providers like YouTube or Netflix? Malhotra says they have found a way. FastFilmz started with producers and studios who made small budget movies and acquired licenses to stream them, he explains. “South India produces 5-8 movies every week and only one is a blockbuster. People would not watch a ‘Bahubali’ on digital, as everyone has seen in theatre. But the rest of the movies is what they want on digital. So, we found those,” said Malhotra.
SHAREit plans to provide a more diverse content range to its users. “We already have live quiz format going on where the users can interact and engage with the host. We are planning on more of such digital interactive video show formats where users can take action on phone. It is the space of live, format and video on demand where user engagement is more, that the team wants to explore.”
The company will not get into premium long form, high budget videos like Netflix or Amazon Prime, he clarified. “We are not an OTT platform. We are experts in technology and user base. We enable partners to explore our huge database, we welcome OTT players to be our partner and explore more than 400 million SHAREit users in India. We are not expert in content, that’s why we partner with content providers to achieve both our goals and the OTT player goals.”