American e-commerce giant Amazon Inc is in advanced talks to buy out Times Internet’s MX Player, a video streaming service, according to reports. Amazon has signed up one of the Big Four accounting firms to conduct exclusive due diligence on MX Player, according to one of the anonymous sources quoted in the reports. The process is likely to take 30 to 40 days.
It is unclear as to how much the potential buyer is looking to pay for MX Player but, citing sources, the reports revealed that Times Internet was asking for over $100 million for MX Player, while Amazon’s internal team valued it at around Rs 500 crore ($60 million). The deal is likely to be in the range of Rs 600-900 crore.
Significance of OTT
MX Player has grown significantly in popularity in areas like India in part because it provides free access to a large selection of videos, including live cable TV channels. Consequently, advertising generates the majority of the service’s income.
One of the first video apps to embrace the short-form video format was MX Player, seizing the opportunity presented by India’s decision to ban TikTok throughout the nation in mid-2020. In a $900 million deal, MX Player eventually combined that operation with ShareChat’s short-video service Moj.
Times Internet is a subsidiary of the 184-year-old Bennett Coleman and Company, which runs more than 30 assets, including the English-language daily Times of India, the news source Indiatimes, business newspaper Economic Times, and advertising agency Columbia.
Amazon owns the ad-supported MiniTV service in India as well as the subscription streaming service Prime Video. In May 2021, Amazon introduced the free MiniTV service for Android phone users within the Amazon shopping app. The service was subsequently made available to iPhone users as well.
The Socio-Economic Class
Prime Video targets top SEC (socio-economic classes) segments and links with the Prime subscription, which in addition to video content also provides free shipping on qualified purchases and ad-free music. MiniTV, on the other hand, does not require a subscription and is aimed for the general public who have smartphones and data connections. MX Player’s inclusion will significantly increase Amazon’s AVoD (advertiser video-on-demand) business.
In recent years, Times Internet has moved to sell off many businesses as the group prepares for major restructuring. The company sold Temasek-backed ShareChat its MX Takatak short-video platform in February last year. In a stock transaction, Times Internet sold Dineout to Swiggy in May 2022. A month later, in December, it sold MensXP and iDiva, two lifestyle publications, as well as the influencer marketing agency Hypp, to Mensa Brands.