South Korea-based video player MX Player has been acquired by Times Internet Ltd (TIL) in a deal worth around Rs 1,000 crore ($144 million), according to an official announcement from the company. The move comes as the Times Group is looking to launch its own OTT (over-the-top) video service in India. The Ken first reported the acquisition this January, though at the time the company had not confirmed the deal.
According to The Ken‘s original report, TIL acquired a majority stake worth about $200 million in the video playback app. MX Player will continue to work as an independent entity post the acquisition.
For those unaware, MX Player is one of the largest video platforms with over 500 million installs on devices globally on Android. The app is among the top ten apps on Google Play Store in India. In many countries, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, etc, MX Player ranks among top 20 on Google Play Store. In India, the app has more than 350 million downloads. There’s also a Pro version of the MX player.
MX Player could soon let users stream content and the service could go live before August, though an exact date is unclear at this point. It will compete with the likes on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, and more. TIL is said to introduce more than 50,000 content across multiple local languages in India in the first year, which includes 20 original shows. The offline video playback feature will continue to be supported on MX Player. A majority of the content will be targeted towards youth.
This is not the first time TIL has backed OTT services. In 2012, the company invested in a venture called BoxTV.com, which shut down in 2016. The company aims to take a different approach with MX Player, with a big focus on content for young audience, the MX Player CEO told TechCrunch. Close to 80 per cent of the app’s users are aged under 35, while 70 per cent users’ base is aged under 25.