Tencent Holdings plugs into India’s OTT market with $110 mn bet on MX Player

Tencent Holdings plugs into India’s OTT market with $110 mn bet on MX Player
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: 123RF.com
30 Oct, 2019

Times Internet owned video streaming platform MX Player has raised $110 million in a growth funding round from Chinese technology conglomerate Tencent Holdings.

The investment comes two years after Times Internet, the digital media arm of homegrown media conglomerate Bennett Coleman and Company, commonly known as The Times Group, acquired the South Korean video streaming platform for $147 million. At the time, Times Internet had said it would invest a similar sum over the next 2-3 years to create original content on the platform.

MX Player plans to use the latest capital infusion to strengthen the platform’s technology, hire fresh talent, and expand its content base, it said in a statement.

“MX Player was our most ambitious investment last year, and it has the potential to change mobile entertainment in India and in the world,” Satyan Gajwani, vice chairman, Times Internet, said.

The platform offers over-the-top content in seven languages with features such as offline video playback, video streaming, music streaming, and has a presence in five countries. It claims to have over 175 million monthly active users in India and over 275 million monthly active users worldwide. 

The investment in MX Player marks Shenzhen-headquartered Tencent Holdings’ second bet on a Times Group entity. Last year it invested $115 million in music streaming platform Gaana.  

“As the smartphone user base continues to expand in India, we look forward to working with MX Player to further grow its platform by delivering original content and a differentiated user experience," Jeffrey Li, managing partner, Tencent Investment, said.

MX Player faces some formidable competition in the Indian OTT (over-the-top) digital video market from subscription-based video-on-demand players such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar. Media companies aren’t the only ones making a play for this market. Recently, restaurant aggregator Zomato, Walmart backed ecommerce firm Flipkart and payments company Paytm announced plans to enter the OTT market. 

India’s digital video market is expected to grow to $8.9 billion by 2024, growing at 29% a year annually, of which 90% of this is expected to be led by AVOD (advertisement-based video-on-demand) , MX Player said, citing a KPMG report. Unlike its competitors, MX Player follows the AVOD model for monetisation.

The country has the second highest per capita online video consumption in the world, with over 325 million video consumers watching nearly 70 mins per day, growing to an estimated 580 million viewers by 2024, it added.