Amazon is in talks with Times Internet about acquiring MX Player, one of India’s major on-demand video streaming services, according to TechCrunch’s sources.
This is part of the American e-commerce giant plans to boost its entertainment ambitions in the key overseas market.
According to three of the sources, the discussions are still underway and may not result in an agreement. The deal’s terms have yet to be finalized.
According to two sources, at least two other parties, including Zee-Sony, have indicated an interest in acquiring the Times Internet-owned app.
The discussions are noteworthy for MX Player, which was purchased for $140 million by the Indian giant Times Internet in 2018. The video app, which is popular for supporting a wide range of video codecs and stability on low-cost Android handsets, has recently expanded to the original content and has over 300 million users worldwide.
MX Player has acquired widespread appeal in areas such as India, thanks in part to its extensive video inventory, which offers free access to live cable TV stations. Instead, the majority of the service’s revenue comes from advertisements.
MX Player was one of the first video apps to expand into the short-video format, capitalizing on an opportunity given by New Delhi’s decision to ban TikTok in the country in mid-2020.
In a $900 million purchase, MX Player integrated that firm with ShareChat’s short-video product, Moz.
Times Internet is a part of Bennett Coleman and Company, a 184-year-old media conglomerate that owns and maintains more than three dozen publications, including the English-language daily Times of India, the news portal Indiatimes, the business paper Economic Times, and the advertising arm Colombia. As the corporation prepares for a significant restructuring, it has sold off many businesses in recent years, including ed-tech provider GradeUp and restaurant tech platform Dineout.
Amazon, which has invested over $7 billion in India over the last decade, has long competed hard for a share of the Indian video industry. In India, the e-commerce company offers Prime Video subscriptions (and Prime membership) at low costs, as well as a free, ad-supported video streaming service.
According to mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower, Google’s YouTube dominates the video market in India, with approximately half a billion monthly active users.
In the country, Prime Video and Netflix have fewer than 40 million monthly active customers. MX Player, which has over 50 million members and more than 150 million monthly active users in India, competes mostly with YouTube and Disney’s Hotstar.