online world

Amazon is making moves to crack India’s expanding secondhand goods market

If successful, Amazon could expand the feature to other cities.

After securing enough buyers and sellers, Amazon’s next target market in India is resellers.

Amazon launched a “Sell as Individual” service in India, which makes it convenient for users to sell secondhand laptops, phones, tablets, books, and more. The company picks up the item, packages it, and ships it to the recipient for a nominal fee: Rs10 ($0.15) for orders under Rs1,000 ($15), a Rs50 ($0.74) for items valued between Rs1,000 and Rs5,000($74), and Rs100 ($1.50) for those priced above Rs5,000. Returns are brought back to the doorstep of the sellers at no additional cost to them.

For now, the company is piloting the service in Bengaluru. If successful, Amazon could expand the feature to other cities.

India’s secondhand goods market is currently estimated at nearly $17 billion. With the latest endeavor, it is tapping an individual market that e-commerce competitors like Flipkart and Snapdeal have not yet ventured into. And even though the secondhand goods market is already saturated by the likes of popular sites like OLX, Quikr, and eBay India, Amazon’s sheer size could give it a competitive edge over other players.

The new platform is reminiscent of shopping portal Junglee, an Amazon subsidiary, launched in India in 2012. When asked about the relationship between the two nearly identical services, the e-retailer told the Verge that Junglee was a pilot of sorts for Amazon.in’s latest offering. Amazon did not respond to Quartz’s requests about whether it has plans to shutter Junglee or merge the two sites in the future.

The Seattle-based company has spent billions of dollars on infrastructure and technology in its second-biggest market after the US. Amazon has committed investments worth more than the total funding raised by Flipkart and Snapdeal—India’s two biggest domestic e-commerce companies—put together. Thanks to partnerships etched with Bollywood studios and its low price point, Amazon’s Prime Video offering is tough competition for Netflix. And with this latest endeavor, Amazon could soon be the biggest player in India’s individual sellers market.

The hassle-free, door-to-door service could also dissuade people from scrapping old electronics. India produces nearly 1.8 million tons of electronic waste every year, a number set to nearly double by 2018, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India. By encouraging the easy resale of used products within the country, the online retailer could curb huge mounds of e-waste.

This articl first appeared on Quartz.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content  BY 

In a first, some of the finest Indian theatre can now be seen on your screen

A new cinematic production brings to life thought-provoking plays as digital video.

Though we are a country besotted with cinema, theatre remains an original source of provocative stories, great actors, and the many deeply rooted traditions of the dramatic arts across India. CinePlay is a new, ambitious experiment to bring the two forms together.

These plays, ‘filmed’ as digital video, span classic drama genre as well as more experimental dark comedy and are available on Hotstar premium, as part of Hotstar’s Originals bouquet. “We love breaking norms. And CinePlay is an example of us serving our consumer’s multi-dimensional personality and trusting them to enjoy better stories, those that not only entertain but also tease the mind”, says Ajit Mohan, CEO, Hotstar.

The first collection of CinePlays feature stories from leading playwrights, like Vijay Tendulkar, Mahesh Dattani, Badal Sircar amongst others and directed by film directors like Santosh Sivan and Nagesh Kukunoor. They also star some of the most prolific names of the film and theatre world like Nandita Das, Shreyas Talpade, Saurabh Shukla, Mohan Agashe and Lillete Dubey.

The idea was conceptualised by Subodh Maskara and Nandita Das, the actor and director who had early experience with street theatre. “The conversation began with Subodh and me thinking how can we make theatre accessible to a lot more people” says Nandita Das. The philosophy is that ‘filmed’ theatre is a new form, not a replacement, and has the potential to reach millions instead of thousands of people. Hotstar takes the reach of these plays to theatre lovers across the country and also to newer audiences who may never have had access to quality theatre.

“CinePlay is merging the language of theatre and the language of cinema to create a third unique language” says Subodh. The technique for ‘filming’ plays has evolved after many iterations. Each play is shot over several days in a studio with multiple takes, and many angles just like cinema. Cinematic techniques such as light and sound effects are also used to enhance the drama. Since it combines the intimacy of theatre with the format of cinema, actors and directors have also had to adapt. “It was quite intimidating. Suddenly you have to take something that already exists, put some more creativity into it, some more of your own style, your own vision and not lose the essence” says Ritesh Menon who directed ‘Between the Lines’. Written by Nandita Das, the play is set in contemporary urban India with a lawyer couple as its protagonists. The couple ends up arguing on opposite sides of a criminal trial and the play delves into the tension it brings to their personal and professional lives.

Play

The actors too adapted their performance from the demands of the theatre to the requirements of a studio. While in the theatre, performers have to project their voice to reach a thousand odd members in the live audience, they now had the flexibility of being more understated. Namit Das, a popular television actor, who acts in the CinePlay ‘Bombay Talkies’ says, “It’s actually a film but yet we keep the characteristics of the play alive. For the camera, I can say, I need to tone down a lot.” Vickram Kapadia’s ‘Bombay Talkies’ takes the audience on a roller coaster ride of emotions as seven personal stories unravel through powerful monologues, touching poignant themes such as child abuse, ridicule from a spouse, sacrifice, disillusionment and regret.

The new format also brought many new opportunities. In the play “Sometimes”, a dark comedy about three stressful days in a young urban professional’s life, the entire stage was designed to resemble a clock. The director Akarsh Khurana, was able to effectively recreate the same effect with light and sound design, and enhance it for on-screen viewers. In another comedy “The Job”, presented earlier in theatre as “The Interview”, viewers get to intimately observe, as the camera zooms in, the sinister expressions of the interviewers of a young man interviewing for a coveted job.

Besides the advantages of cinematic techniques, many of the artists also believe it will add to the longevity of plays and breathe new life into theatre as a medium. Adhir Bhat, the writer of ‘Sometimes’ says, “You make something and do a certain amount of shows and after that it phases out, but with this it can remain there.”

This should be welcome news, even for traditionalists, because unlike mainstream media, theatre speaks in and for alternative voices. Many of the plays in the collection are by Vijay Tendulkar, the man whose ability to speak truth to power and society is something a whole generation of Indians have not had a chance to experience. That alone should be reason enough to cheer for the whole project.

Play

Hotstar, India’s largest premium streaming platform, stands out with its Originals bouquet bringing completely new formats and stories, such as these plays, to its viewers. Twenty timeless stories from theatre will be available to its subscribers. Five CinePlays, “Between the lines”, “The Job”, “Sometimes”, “Bombay Talkies” and “Typecast”, are already available and a new one will release every week starting March. To watch these on Hotstar Premium, click here.

This article was produced on behalf of Hotstar by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.