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Tiger Global tops up investment in video platform The Viral Fever

Tiger Global tops up investment in video platform The Viral Fever
Photo Credit: 123RF.com

Contagious Online Media Network Pvt. Ltd, which operates video content creator The Viral Fever (TVF), has raised close to $5 million (around Rs 34.7 crore at the current exchange rate) from existing investor Tiger Global Management.

The New York-based firm’s investment values the over-the-top (OTT) platform operator at $45 million (around Rs 315 crore), show filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

However, various media reports have pegged TVF’s latest valuation at $80 million. It is unclear whether there will be new investors joining the round. Regulatory filings indicate that the company has hiked its authorised share capital to make a provision for $22 million (Rs 152 crore) in additional funding, provided it raises the sum at the current share subscription price.

Separate email queries sent to Tiger Global and TVF did not yield a response till the time of publishing this report.

TVF’s valuation has increased since it raised $6 million from Tiger Global last July at a post-money valuation of $40 million. That investment marked a down round as compared to the valuation of $61 million when Tiger Global had first invested in 2016.

The latest investment was first reported by data intelligence platform paper.vc.

Tiger Global’s fresh infusion comes on the back of a recent funding spree that has seen it make at least nine investments over the past three months alone .

TVF is also backed by a clutch of well-known individual investors that include Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, Ola founders Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Freecharge founder Kunal Shah and Toppr founder Zishaan Hayath.

TVF

TVF creates content for its YouTube channel as well as for its own streaming platform, TVF Play. It produces several shows, with Kota Factory being among its recent releases.

The content company was started in 2010 by Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur graduate Arunabh Kumar and was incorporated in 2015. TVF endured a rough patch after Kumar stepped down as chief executive officer in 2017 following allegations of sexual harassment by a former employee.

According to the company’s filings with the MCA, its losses increased marginally to Rs 83.3 crore for the financial year ended March 2018 from Rs 80.61 crore in the previous year. The company’s revenue from operations increased by 65% to Rs 35.34 crore for 2017-18.

TVF had in 2017 acquired ComnPlus Inc, which builds scalable personalisation and recommendation engines using machine learning.

As a standalone platform, TVF is now facing formidable competition from deep-pocketed players such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. These platforms are producing original content and looking to step up their local play, in addition to offering a large library of movies and TV shows.

Other prominent players in the OTT segment include Voot, a joint venture between Network18 Media & Investments Ltd and US peer Viacom Inc; SonyLIV from Japan’s Sony Corp; Zee Entertainment’s OZee and production house Balaji’s ALTBalaji.

Times Internet Ltd, the digital business arm of media house Times Group, has also forayed into the video streaming business through the acquisition of South Korea-based MX Player for Rs 1,000 crore.

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