According to four sources, Amazon is in talks with Times Internet to acquire MX Player, India’s largest on-demand video streaming service, to broaden its entertainment ambitions in the crucial overseas market.
Three insiders warned that the negotiations could fail. We’re still negotiating. Amazon and Times Internet did not respond to requests for comment. Confidential sources demanded anonymity.
Two sources said two other parties, including Zee-Sony, are interested in buying the Times Internet-owned app.
MX Player, acquired by Times Internet in 2018 for $140 million, is unusual in its reasoning. The video app has over 300 million users worldwide and supports a wide range of video formats on low-cost Android smartphones.
MX Player’s free video inventory, which includes live cable TV stations, has helped it acquire popularity in India. Instead, it relies on adverts.
After New Delhi banned TikTok in mid-2020, MX Player was one of the first video apps to push into short videos. MX Player acquired ShareChat’s short-video service Moj for $900 million.
Bennett Coleman and Company, 184 years old, owns more than three dozen properties, including the English daily Times of India, news outlet Indiatimes, the business paper Economic Times, and an advertising unit in Colombia. Times Internet is a subsidiary. As part of a major restructuring, it has sold GradeUp and Dineout.
Amazon, which has invested over $7 billion in India in the past decade, has actively pursued the Indian video industry. The e-commerce firm offers a free, ad-supported video streaming service in India and Prime Video subscriptions at low costs.
Sensor Tower reports half a billion monthly active users for YouTube in India. Prime Video and Netflix have fewer than 40 million US monthly active customers. MX Player’s biggest market is India, where it competes with YouTube and Disney’s Hotstar, which has over 50 million subscribers and 150 million monthly active users. The $500 million round valued MX Player.
MX Player, which sells premium services worldwide, claims 150 million active users in India. Tencent led a $110.8 million venture round for the company in 2019.