Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) appears to be upping its ante in digital content business as the group is investing Rs 413.28 crore in television and film production house Balaji Telefilms for a 24.92 per cent stake, according to a stock market disclosure.
Following the deal, Balaji Telefilms will be issuing 2.52 crore shares to Reliance Industries at Rs 164 per share. The proceeds will be deployed towards content development, majorly for production’s subscription-based video streaming service ALT Balaji that launched in April this year.
“This investment will give strong impetus to the company’s focus on becoming India’s content powerhouse, thereby providing it with a strong ability to compete with other global and Indian video streaming providers.” the company said in a statement, adding that it has received board approval for this investment and the deal is now subject to necessary shareholder and other approvals.
Earlier in February last year, Balaji Telefilms had Rs 150 crore for ALT Digital Media from India-focused private investment fund Atyant Capital and US-based research university Vanderbilt University among others.
To fortify its reach Balaji had partnered with with smartphone manufacturers, mobile wallets, and Ola’s in-cab entertainment service Ola Play. The company also counts Microsoft, YouTube, Apple, Google and the Airtel Payments Bank as partners.
Meanwhile, ALT Balaji claims to have more than 3 million downloads and is present in 75 countries. The video streaming service had gone live on Amazon’s Fire TV Stick last month. With Amazon Fire TV integration, Alt Balaji has reach to all countries that Amazon operates in.
At present, online video streaming market is growing significantly. Last year, we witnessed the entry of global online video streaming leaders such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as the launch of major broadcast network backed platforms, such as Voot (Viacom 18) and OZee (Zee TV).
According to the data from app analytics firm App Annie Inc, Hotstar is top video streaming app in terms of monthly active usage followed by JioTV and JioCinema.