Television

ZEEL invests Rs 5220 mn in tech startup SugarBox

It will be able to enhance its growth in the digital ecosystem, expanding its presence beyond OTT

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MUMBAI: The Board of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), at its meeting held on 8 April has agreed to invest a sum of Rs 5,220 million in Margo Networks Private Ltd (SugarBox). With this investment, ZEEL will be able to enhance its growth in the digital ecosystem, expanding its presence beyond OTT and ad-tech.

"Our investment in SugarBox, gives a strong fillip to the overall digital business, sharpening its approach by many folds. The unique technology will enable us to serve content to consumers across the nation, without being restricted by connectivity constraints. We are confident that this synergy will create a strong foundation for us, as we progress towards offering relevant content to consumers across platforms,” ZEEL managing director and CEO Punit Goenka said.

SugarBox is a first-of-its-kind platform in the world that enables internet services to work even in areas of bad or no network and empowers users to access them without an active data connection. It creates a hyperlocal data distribution ecosystem by installing CDN Edge servers at key places of interest (POIs), which users can connect to over a local Wi-Fi network.

“We are extremely excited about this development. ZEE has been a pioneer in the field of entertainment in India and with their strong strategic focus on the digital space, our synergies matched perfectly. With this investment, SugarBox will commence commercial operations across exclusive long-term contracts like L&T Metro, Chennai Metro, NMMT, Kolkata Metro, Indian Railways and forge new partnerships to scale up its network. SugarBox is at the forefront of revolutionising availability, affordability and reliability of digital services for the next billion users globally – something that even Big Tech has struggled to achieve sustainably. This investment will provide a giant leap towards us achieving that goal,” SugarBox co-founder and CEO Rohit Paranjpe said.

SugarBox POIs include public transport, public places, rural areas, hotels & co-living spaces, malls, etc. where a critical mass of users access a host of digital services. Using the SugarBox platform, a user will be able to stream & download videos, listen to music, play games, learn on-the-go, shop online, pay bills, order food & groceries, book onward transport and access other digital services, all without dependence on cellular data or even the need of an internet connection.

In the year 2017, ZEEL had acquired 80 per cent equity stake in SugarBox. This investment will be made by ZEEL to exploit strong synergies of the technology developed by SugarBox with the current businesses of the company and with a potential to significantly augment the digital content consumption.

The SugarBox platform is expected to reach 25 million users daily and 300 million monthly unique users by mid-2022, unlocking an aggregate of 2.5 billion hours of monthly consumption in a near-captive environment, where access to internet services is otherwise limited due to uneven connectivity.

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