Amazon wants to buy Indian streaming service MX Player
Companies are still talking, the acquisition is not a sure thingBy Alfonso Maruccia
What just happened? Amazon is trying to expand its presence in India's lucrative video market as the company now wants to acquire one of the major players in the country. In India, the ad-supported business is clearly the way to go.
According to people familiar with the matter, Amazon is talking with Times Internet for a potential acquisition of MX Player, one of the most popular streaming services in India. Times Internet, which is the country's largest media conglomerate offering several internet-related products and services, is reportedly negotiating with Amazon and other major market players as well.
MX Player is an Indian video streaming and video on-demand service initially developed by MX Media, before being acquired by Times India. The service has over 280 million users globally, with 150 million viewers in India alone. The company is funded through advertising revenues, giving users access to live cable TV channels and an extensive VOD library in 11 different languages.
Available on Android, iOS and the web, MX Player was acquired by Times Internet in 2018 for $140 million. The service gained popularity in India thanks to the wide range of available video formats and service reliability even on low-cost Android smartphones, which are the most popular mobile device category in the country.
Amazon has spent over $7 billion in the Indian market in recent years. The e-commerce and cloud giant is putting in real effort to compete with other companies in India's VOD market, where Amazon offers both a cheaper subscription to its own Prime Video service (plus Prime membership) and a free, ad-supported service known as Amazon miniTV.
When compared to YouTube, however, both Amazon and MX Player are second-rate services in terms of sheer popularity at least. According to stats provided by mobile intelligent company Sensor Tower, the Alphabet-owned video platform has about half a billion monthly active users in India. Meanwhile, Prime Video and Netflix have less than 40 million monthly active users in the country.
Whether it's Amazon, Zee-Sony or other interested parties, MX Player won't likely be part of Times Internet's properties for much longer. The media conglomerate is preparing for a major restructuring operation, and it's selling off many businesses including exam preparation platform Gradeup and restaurant tech service Dineout.