Amazon Acquires Indian Streaming Platform MX Player


Amazon is set to purchase the Indian video streaming service MX Player from the local media giant, Times Internet. This move represents another effort by the e-commerce behemoth to expand its presence and brand appeal in smaller urban and rural areas in this critical foreign market.

Both companies finalized a definite agreement for the acquisition on Wednesday evening, according to a source familiar with the situation. The deal values MX Player at under $100 million, significantly lower than its previous $500 million valuation during its last fundraising round. This individual, who requested anonymity as the firms have not publicly disclosed the deal, provided this information.

Amazon is set to acquire certain assets of MX Player, rather than the entire company, which also lists Tencent among its investors.

The acquisition marks the end of nearly two years of negotiations between the two firms, looking for synergy between their operations. Over the past two years, Times Internet, along with its affiliate Times Group, has been actively seeking to divest several of its digital assets.

Truth Voices first reported in February of last year about the negotiations between Amazon and MX Player. Sony also showed interest in acquiring MX Player while attempting a merger of its Indian unit with Zee, but complexities with the Zee merger obstructed its acquisition attempts, according to multiple sources in the know.

For Amazon, the acquisition of MX Player offers a robust distribution and marketing ally that can increase the platform’s appeal and credibility among users in smaller Indian cities and towns. MX Player enjoys considerable popularity with these demographic groups, while Amazon’s e-commerce services have largely been successful in urban areas. Amazon will continue to use the MX Player branding, said the source.

In an effort to attract attention outside of India’s major cities, Amazon has broadened its video streaming offerings. It offers a Prime subscription variant that costs as little as $9.50 annually and includes Prime Video. Amazon also partners with local telecom operators to offer bundled plans with Prime Video. In 2021, it introduced a free, ad-supported video streaming service in India.

Following the story’s publication, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed the agreement to purchase some of MX Player’s assets.

“We are always looking for ways to introduce new products and services that help improve customers’ lives,” an Amazon spokesperson told Truth Voices in a statement. “We’re excited to continue to entertain India with the great local originals and exclusive content available across our Prime Video and miniTV services in India.”

Reliance, which runs the nation’s largest retail chain, leads the video streaming service market in India alongside Disney. In late February, the two firms merged their Indian media properties. Together, their apps command 55% of the monthly active users in India’s video streaming sector. MX Player holds a 15% market share, according to UBS, while Netflix and Prime Video each have around 3-5% market share.

Monthly active users of popular streaming services in India. Image: UBS; Data: UBS and Sensor Tower

Times Internet bought MX Player in 2018 for $140 million. Originally from South Korea, the app gained significant traction in India due to its local video playback feature, supporting various video file formats, making it highly compatible with affordable Android smartphones ubiquitous in developing markets.

After its acquisition, Times Internet focused on evolving MX Player from a local video playback app into a comprehensive video streaming platform. The company invested heavily in providing a wide range of licensed and original content, including TV shows, movies, and games, to meet the growing online entertainment demands in India and other international markets such as the UK and the U.S.

Following the Indian government’s mid-2020 ban of the popular short-video app TikTok, MX Player launched its own short-video app, MX TakaTak, to fill the market void. Times Internet later sold this short-video app to ShareChat, a leading Indian social media platform, in a deal valued over $650 million.

Times Internet has yet to respond to a request for comment as of Thursday noon.

Manish Singh
Manish Singh
Senior Reporter. Manish covers India’s startup scene and venture capital investments. He also reports on global tech firms’ India play. Previously, Singh wrote for about a dozen publications, including CNBC and VentureBeat. He graduated in Computer Science and Engineering in 2015.

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