Eros International Plc, a Global Indian Entertainment Company with the leading digital over-the-top (OTT) South Asian entertainment platform, Eros Now, announced that Eros Now has entered into a strategic multi-year content deal with NBCUniversal and will launch Eros Now Prime, a new stand-alone English content offering with over 2,000 hours of programming.
Eros Now is the well-established leader in the space of Online Video in South Asia, having access to a large catalogue of over 12,000 Films across 10 different Indian languages and over 2,000 pieces of Original Content including Long-form Original Series. Since its inception in 2012, Eros Now has amassed 26.2 million paid monthly subscribers and 187 million Registered Users coming from over 150 countries and is one of the fastest growing OTT (“Over-the-top”) digital platforms in the world.
Our strategic partnership and multi-year deal with NBCUniversal is only the first step in our Eros Now Prime journey and provides critical mass for our offering today and into the future. NBCUniversal brings a vast array of programming ranging from television series, children’s entertainment, scripted and unscripted television series that will significantly enrich our digital offering on Eros Now as we have seen shifts to original and episodic viewing. Alongside current and future Eros Now originals, our Eros Now Prime subscriber base will have access to comedies such as the reboot of the critically acclaimed, ‘Will and Grace’, compelling dramas such as ‘New Amsterdam’,’Belgravia’, ‘Suits’ including the spin-off ‘Pearson’ to name a few.
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Breaking down the business strategy behind this approach, Rishika Lulla, Chairman and CEO of Eros Digital said, “We have made a number of key partnerships in the past year to enhance our service and cement our lead and believe our partnership with NBCU now provides an unparalleled programming proposition for our subscribers in India and will accelerate our already considerable growth rate. To meet the needs of our diverse audiences, we have been segmenting our offerings and pricing plans and will now offer premium English language content as a stand-alone option. More importantly, this alliance marks the beginning of further diversification of our customer base in India by offering an unmatched entertainment experience. We are excited about the opportunities associated with what we hope will be a productive long-term relationship with NBCUniversal and the benefit it brings to our current and future subscribers. Over the last 18 months Eros has been increasingly focused on our Digital Division and we are therefore less reliant on the Studio Division which has less predictable quarterly performance. We have now passed an important inflection point in our growth and profit trajectory, as evidenced by our above 40 percent Adjusted EBITDA margin for the last few quarters. We believe our shift in strategy has helped drive a more stable and predictable growth business for the future.”
Currently approximately 40% of India’s Internet population is based in the Metro and mini-Metros which essentially constitute 90% of the English-speaking population in the country. The core proposition and service offering by Eros Now has previously skewed more towards “Middle India” and Tier 2, Tier 3 cities. However, with the upcoming launch of ‘Eros Now Prime’, the overall content offering will be more diverse and further strengthened across the country. Furthermore, the growth of English-language channels on television following the introduction of the New tariff by TRAI has slowed, and we saw this as an opportunity to be able to grow audiences on a stand-alone digital service. A large part of the work we are doing with Microsoft on dynamic language and voice will allow for Indic audiences in the country to be able to watch these shows in their native languages with ease, and hence increasing the elasticity and distribution of Premium Hollywood content in the country.
This approach towards content is also strategic for the long-term growth of our business. Eros Now Prime will allow us to focus on consumers with higher disposable incomes in the Metros and mini-Metros, which will improve our net effective ARPUs in India.
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Eros Now Prime will be available on all existing Eros Now platforms (including web, app and Smart TV products), which means consumers will not need to download another application. Eros Now Prime is scheduled to launch in June 2020 and will be available within the monthly offering price of INR 49 and annual price of INR 399 for a period of 6 months from launch. Following this introductory offer Eros Now Prime will be available for a stand-alone price of INR 79 per month and INR 799 annually.
Our strategic partnership and multi-year deal with NBCUniversal represents our important first step in English language content offering through the upcoming launch of Eros Now Prime. We are planning to enter into more content agreements with additional partners to augment and build our English language content offering over the coming quarters. All content from our Hollywood content partners will be packaged and served to South Asian audiences under Eros Now Prime, and the brand will to continue to invest in content and marketing.
Eros Now launched its first sub-brand, Eros Now Quickie, in December 2018 and the upcoming launch of Eros Now Prime marks our second sub-brand. We look forward to launching more sub-brands to enhance our consumer entertainment experience, which will mark a turning point as we execute our strategy to evolve Eros Now from a Mass Entertainment service into a Mass Entertainment Digital Video Network.
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