Times Internet-owned OTT platform MX Player has announced a $110 Mn (INR 775 Cr) funding round from Tencent and its parent entity.
According to a press statement, this is MX Player’s first external fundraising post its acquisition by the Times Internet. MX Player claims over 175 Mn monthly active users in India and over 275 Mn MAUs worldwide, with presence in five countries. Times Internet acquired a majority stake in MX Player from Chinese mobile games firm Zenjoy in 2018.
The company plans to utilise the fresh investments to strengthen its content portfolio by acquiring and producing original video content and expanding further in the entertainment genre. It’s already earned following for a few of its shows such as Thinkistaan.
With this funding, MX Player might intensify the domestic competition among OTT players like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, etc. Moreover, with the announcement of entries like Flipkart and Zomato in the OTT market, the competition is expected to grow stiffer.
In a statement, Satyan Gajwani, vice-chairman of Times Internet, said that MX Player was Times Internet’s most ambitious investment in 2018. “It plays an important role in Times Internet’s strategy of being the largest consumer platform in India, and we’re excited to have Tencent help us in this mission,” he added.
Meanwhile, this is the second time that the Chinese technology giant will be investing in a Times Internet property. Tencent in February 2018 has led a $115 Mn funding round in Times Internet-owned music streaming platform Gaana.
MX Player was launched in 2011 as a South Korea-based video playback application. It quickly grew a noticeable user base on Android and was downloaded over 500 Mn times by 2018 when it was acquired by Times Internet for $144 Mn.
Post-acquisition, Times Internet added video streaming and music streaming supported by Gaana to the new avatar of MX Player. It also pulled in videos from popular YouTube channels and other creators. Later in February 2019, MX Player also launched India-focussed original web series to grab a bigger slice of the video-on-demand market.
Karan Bedi, chief executive of MX Player, revealed that MX Player has partnerships with three of the five large television networks in India including, Sony Entertainment and Sun TV Network. “MX player also works with producers of Indian web series such as TVF and Dice Media, and other platforms that create web content like Hoichoi,” he added.
MX player claims that it has around 280 Mn monthly active users globally with a presence in over 200 countries. The OTT platform is currently in beta stages in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. MX player also claims to have around 175 Mn monthly active users in India.