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Yupp TV gets $50 mn funding from KKR-backed Emerald Media

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MUMBAI: It’s a sign of the confidence international private equity firms have in India’s one-billion plus mobile user base, the over the top (OTT) ecosystem and the appeal south Asian content can have worldwide.

The Chernin-KKR-Ailleo-Kamath backed Emerald Media yesterday announced that it was investing $50 million (Rs 334 crore) in the Uday Reddy-run internet pay TV platform Yupp TV and gaining a significant minority stake in the firm. The purpose of the fund-raising: expand the OTT service’s footprint globally, its content library through originals and acquisitions, and in the process ramp up its subscriber base.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Yupp TV offers a mix of live TV (more than 250 channels in 14 languages), TV shows, movies and videos with a focus on the US, UK, Middle East, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean.  It has been making inroads in India too with an initial focus on the south Indian market, but has since been spreading nationally. The platform has more than 25,000 hours of entertainment content catalogued in its library, with nearly 5,000 hours of new on-demand content being added to it daily. It recently launched YuppFlix, its on-demand movie streaming service on the back of its 5,000 strong movie catalogue.

More than five million monthly visitors – peaking at 20 million - log on to the Yupp  TV service using 27 integrated devices. The YuppTV app has had 10 million mobile downloads, 50 million Samsug TV  and 300,000 LG Smart TV pre-installs globally.  The app is also available for PS3 and PS4s.

Said YuppTV promoter & CEO Uday Reddy:  “We couldn’t ask for a stronger partner than Emerald Media. YuppTV is a content distribution platform with a strong consumer connection, and Emerald Media has global media relationships. We hope to leverage their relationships and existing assets Endemol, OML, Fluence and Graphic India to create original programming and make this platform a next generation distribution and content powerhouse.”

Added Emerald Media managing director Rajesh Kamat:  “Emerald Media believes in driving change and value-creation by providing a distinctive combination of capital, domain knowledge and management bandwidth. The world is moving from traditional consumption to multiscreen delivery mediums. YuppTV provides a unique combination of technology, strong content relationships and revenues of scale and will be an anchor to our vision of building a new age media company.”

Said Emerald Media managing director Paul Aiello: “Uday and his team have created an exceptional online video platform with a loyal subscriber base that realizes the huge potential of the global Indian diaspora. Our investment and relationship will enable YuppTV to further their strong leadership position in the rapidly growing OTT space.”

YuppTV will need all the financial muscle it can get. The Indian OTT and VOD space is just about beginning to warm up with the likes of Amazon keeping aside a war chest of around $300 million for its Prime Video service. Additionally, Netflix, Hotstar, SonyLiv, Ditto TV, Voot, Hooq, Viu, Spuul, and the soon to be launched Alt Balaji are all nurturing ambitious investments and plans to capture a piece of the Indian mobile consumer’s wallet.

Also read:

Hooq plans to invest $2 million on original Indian content

Challenges faced by the OTT players in India; the way ahead

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