India-based media company Times Internet made a second attempt on the OTT video streaming sector, with an INR10 billion ($145 million) acquisition of a controlling interest in video playback app MX Player.
TechPluto reported the app has more than 500 million users globally, some 350 million of which are based in India. What appears to be an official statement posted on exchange4media.com said 175 million Indians use the platform each month.
Times Internet’s move is its second attempt to establish a presence in the OTT video streaming sector: several reports state its previous venture, BoxTV, was shuttered in 2016. The acquisition will pitch the company into competition against well-known OTT players including Netflix and Amazon.
The statement mentions MX Player “investing aggressively” in original digital content, with a particular eye toward the creation of Hindu and regional productions. Over the next year, more than 20 original shows and 50,000 hours of content will be launched across all languages.
On Twitter, Times Internet vice chairman Satyan Gajwani noted “MX Player is one of the few apps that’s relevant to the majority of India,” garnering over a million content downloads each day without marketing support.
He called the deal “transformative” for the company, noting “the opportunity to provide a high quality entertainment offering to a billion Indians is one we don’t take lightly”.
The Economic Times, which is owned by the same parent company as Times Internet, reported the service will be available across all major platforms, including iOS and Android, next quarter.