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This OTT Player Is Looking To Become World's Largest Entertainment Platform MX Player was launched in 2011 as a video playback app, but the company entered the OTT segment in February 2019 as it was realized that the app can be used to provide content as well

By Shreya Ganguly

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The demand for streaming audios and videos is growing rapidly in India due to increasing penetration of Internet and smartphones. Moving beyond televisions, users can now stream their favourite show anywhere and anytime using their mobile phones. Increasing demand for such over-the-top (OTT) services has led to the launch of various players in this space. Times Internet-owned MXPlayer is one such player looking to disrupt the Indian OTT market with its original content.

Originating in South Korea, now Mumbai-based, MXPlayer offers a video player which uses advanced hardware acceleration. Users can use the player offline for playing downloaded videos and also stream shows from its huge library.

MX Player was launched in 2011 as a video playback app. It forayed into OTT segment ealier this year in February after considering that when the app is being used to play videos, then why not provide shows on the app itself. "While evaluating Times Internet's investment into MX Player, we had this hypothesis that users were using the app to watch video, so why not try and provide them with a range of high quality content on the app itself. Back then, consumers would download videos from questionable sources, save it on their SD cards and watch them at their convenience. We simply made it easier for them to access content that they wanted. It was a very natural extension," Karan Bedi, CEO of MXPlayer told Entrepreneur India.

Related Story: How Streaming Services Are Betting On Originals To Capture OTT Market In India

MXPlayer In Numbers

According to the company, it has over 175 million monthly active users in India and over 275 million monthly active users worldwide. In terms of partnership content, it offers over 200,000 hours of great content from over 500 partners. MXPlayer already has 15 originals and 10 exclusives live on the platform and plans to launch 20 more originals in different regional languages by March 2020.

MXPlayer counts popular names such as SonyLIV, Applause, HoiChoi, SunNxt, TVF, Radio Mirchi, Dice Media and Arre as its content partners.

The video playback company got acquired by Times Internet in June 2018. The Times Group-company invested over INR 1,000 crore to acquire a majority stake in the company.

Growth Plans

In October 2019, MXPlayer raised $110 million in fresh funding round from Tencent and Times Internet. According to Bedi, this funding will be used for developing content, both original and licensed, marketing and improving its product and technology offering. The company is also looking to expand into more categories of entertainment including gaming.

Explaining about the future plans, Bedi said the company already has 25-30 originals planned across Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Punjabi, Bhojpuri and Bengali in partnership with some of the big industry players.

"We've joined hands with the best in class writers and directors and performers to create our originals slate. These include marquee directors in Hindi and Tamil such as Prakash Jha and Gautham V. Menon, as well as stars like Bobby Deol, Ranvir Shorey, Ramya Krishnan, Naveen Kasturia and others," Bedi added.

Vision Of Becoming Largest Entertainment Platform

MXPlayer is working towards becoming the leading entertainment platform in the world. While speaking about the journey, Bedi said, "When we started out—the one question we had in mind was whether we could use this platform that hundreds of millions watch video files on, and serve them streaming entertainment. I am happy to say we succeeded!"

While the company is looking to achieve great heights, it has to compete with several notable OTT players trying to disrupt the market. According to a report by RedSeer, the Indian OTT market is projected to grow 80 per cent from 170 million in 2019 to 300 million by 2022.

Earlier this year, it was reported that OTT giant Netflix India clocked a revenue of INR 466.7 crore for FY19 with a net profit of INR 5.1 crore. The US-based company had made it big in India using its original content. Apart from this, other players such as Amazon Prime, Voot and Star India-owned video streaming platform Hotstar is also looking to capture the Indian market with its original content.

Speaking about the competition, Bedi said content, distribution and technology are major factors behind the success of any online video-streaming platform. "In a country as diverse as ours, and as the sixth most used app in the country across any category, we are confident other players would struggle to achieve the kind of distribution and scaling we enjoy. We've already talked about our content in detail. Add to this our tech focus on personalisation and video compression, and I think we have a winning formula," Bedi added.

Shreya Ganguly

Former Features Writer

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