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Hungama raises $25 mn from Xiaomi-led group, to add TV content

MUMBAI: Hungama Digital Media Entertainment has raised $25 million in a new round of funding led by China’s largest smartphone company Xiaomi.

Hungama will consume the capital to mainly mop up television content in the youth and kids genre. This will add to the digital media firm’s existing content portfolio of movies and music.

The move is in sync with the other digital players who see content driving the next phase of digital India. Viacom18-controlled Voot, for instance, has 17,000 hours of content. Balaji Telefilms’ upcoming OTT service under the ‘Alt’ brand will also launch original shows.

This is Xiaomi’s first investment in India and signals a trend on how digital media companies in India are being pursued by mobile handset manufactures and telecom service providers. Xiaomi believes that the investment will help it to deliver localised internet services and content on its smartphones.

“We think of smartphones as a platform for us to deliver internet services, and this includes content. We are investing in Hungama not only to start integrating content into our smartphones, but also to grow together with them and deepen our understanding of the content sector in India. We have carefully selected Hungama because of what they are doing in terms of aggregating large amounts of content and delivering an amazing user experience,” said Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra.

Hungama’s existing investors Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala participated in the new round of funding.

The money raised will go into developing TV programmes including original content and music for its mobile app Hungama music.

Hungama plans to add 1,500 hours of TV content in English and Hindi on Hungama Play. Currently, Hungama Play offers over 8,000 movies in English and 12 Indian languages for the South Asian market.

Hungama Play competes with other OTT services like Hotstar, Voot, ditto, Sony Liv, HOOQ, and Eros Now.

“India is adding 8 million new internet consumers each month with 90% of digital consumption being driven by mobile. Young Indians love their music and movies, and the mobile will be the most used screen for this generation. Content will drive the next phase of Digital India and we are delighted to partner Xiaomi as we prepare to bring premium and original digital entertainment to 100 million Indians before the end of this year,” said Hungama Digital Media Entertainment founder and CEO Neeraj Roy.

Founded almost 17 years ago, Hungama has over 65 million monthly active users across all its platforms, consuming a content base of over 3.5 million premium digital units across audio and video.

Hungama Digital Media Entertainment chairman Rakesh Jhunjhunwala said, “I have been invested into Hungama for several years and participated in this new capital raise as I believe they have built a unique leadership position with the most compelling music and movie OTT service for South Asians globally, which is ripe for growth as India will embrace broadband and 4G. We welcome Xiaomi as one of our partners.”

Citibank acted as exclusive financial advisor to Hungama on this transaction.