Times Internet has acquired a majority stake in Gangnam (Seoul)-based MX Player for about $200 million. The deal reportedly sealed a few weeks ago and said to be all in cash.
The investment will help Times Internet to launch its over-the-top (OTT) video service, which is slated to make debut in coming months. The acquisition was first reported by The Ken.
MX Player claims to be the first Android video player which supports multi-core decoding. Multi-core decoding essentially provides good visual quality and small file sizes, but requires a fair amount of processing power to decode in real time.
For past few years, MX Player has been popular in India and other countries including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Iran among others. While it’s been among top 10 apps on Google Play Store in India, MX Player is reportedly among top 20 most used apps in aforementioned countries.
App Annie data shows that more than 63.6 million Android users have downloaded MX Player in India. The report mentions that the above figure consists of low (80 per cent) as well as high end (20 per cent) smartphones.
Meanwhile, the integration of MX Player with Times Internet yet to be launched over-the-top product is under process. Currently, the Gurugram-based company is testing OTT App on a different version of MX Player — MX Player Online 2018 (beta), mentions the report.
The former COO of EROS Now Karan Bedi will head the OTT App of Times Internet. This is the second attempt by the company in OTT space. Earlier in 2012, it launched Box TV, however, the video streaming service had shut down operations in 2016.
OTT space in India
Indian online video industry is expected to touch $1.6 billion in revenue by 2022, from the estimated $340 million in 2017, as per media research and consulting firm Media Partners Asia (MPA). Over the past two years, OTT space in India has been crowded as many players jumped on video streaming bandwagon.
In 2016, global online video streaming leaders including Netflix and Amazon Prime had made their entry into Indian market while Star-owned Hotstar, Voot (Viacom 18) and OZee (Zee TV) are also eyeing to grab a slice of fast-growing video consumption on the back of low-cost smartphones and cheap data packs.
Jack Ma-led Chinese Internet major Alibaba is also planning to launch an OTT video service in India in the next three months. The OTT service is likely to be launched in collaboration with its Indian portfolio Paytm and Alibaba’s media and entertainment unit UCWeb.
Besides Alibaba, social media behemoth Facebook is launching its original video offering ‘watch’ in India in coming months.
Broadcaster Star India-owned video streaming app Hotstar commands top position in OTT space in India.