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Amazon Acquires Indian Video Streaming Platform MX Player

ByYasmeeta Oon

Jun 6, 2024

Amazon Acquires Indian Video Streaming Platform MX Player

In a significant move to expand its influence in India, Amazon has secured a deal to acquire key assets of the video streaming service MX Player from Times Internet, a major player in the Indian media industry. This acquisition marks a crucial step by the e-commerce behemoth to enhance its brand visibility and service offerings in smaller cities and towns across the vast market of India.

The two companies finalized the acquisition terms on Wednesday, according to an inside source who spoke to TechCrunch. This deal, valuing MX Player at under $100 million, is notably lower than its last capital raise, which pegged the company at a $500 million valuation. The source requested anonymity as the transaction details are yet to be officially released.

The discussions between Amazon and MX Player have been ongoing for nearly two years, involving complex deliberations aimed at identifying potential synergies. Over the past two years, Times Internet and its affiliate, the Times Group, have been strategically looking to divest several of their digital properties. TechCrunch had earlier reported potential discussions between Amazon and MX Player in February of the previous year. Concurrently, Sony had shown interest in MX Player as it explored a merger with media conglomerate Zee, although complications in those negotiations reportedly halted Sony’s acquisition plans.

MX Player enjoys considerable popularity among demographics in smaller Indian towns and cities, traditionally underserved by Amazon’s e-commerce platform. With this acquisition, Amazon aims to leverage MX Player’s strong market presence to enhance its distribution and marketing reach beyond urban centers. The acquisition allows Amazon to retain the established MX Player brand, signaling a strategic continuation rather than a complete integration.

Amazon has been actively expanding its video streaming portfolio in India. The company offers an economical annual Prime subscription for $9.50, which includes a version of Prime Video. This is part of Amazon’s broader strategy to penetrate deeper into the Indian market, including a free, ad-supported streaming service launched in 2021. The tech giant also collaborates with local telecom operators to bundle Prime Video with various tariff plans, further enhancing its reach.

Key Players in the Indian Video Streaming Market

CompanyMarket ShareNotable Strategy
Reliance & Disney (combined)55%Merged India media properties
MX Player15%Localized content and features
Netflix3-5%Premium global content
Amazon Prime Video3-5%Economical subscriptions, local partnerships

Reliance, in partnership with Disney, currently leads India’s video streaming market following their recent merger, commanding a 55% market share of monthly active users. In comparison, MX Player holds a 15% market share, while both Netflix and Prime Video hover between 3-5%, according to a UBS report.

Originally a South Korean creation, MX Player was acquired by Times Internet in 2018 for $140 million. Known for its unique local video playback capability, the app supports various video formats, making it ideal for the widespread use of affordable Android devices in India. Times Internet transformed MX Player from a simple video playback application to a robust streaming platform, offering an array of licensed and original content tailored for diverse audiences in India and beyond.

Since the acquisition, MX Player has evolved into a comprehensive entertainment hub, hosting TV shows, movies, and interactive games to meet the increasing demand for online entertainment. Following the Indian government’s ban on TikTok in mid-2020, MX Player launched MX TakaTak, a short-video platform intended to capitalize on the market vacuum. This app was later sold to ShareChat in a lucrative deal.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the asset purchase, stating, “We are always looking for ways to introduce new products and services that help improve customers’ lives. 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.”

This acquisition by Amazon not only underscores its intent to deepen its market penetration in India but also reflects the shifting dynamics in the global streaming industry, where localization and strategic asset acquisition become pivotal in capturing and sustaining viewer interest and loyalty in diverse markets.

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Featured Image courtesy of Bloomberg

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.

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