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YuppTV raises $50 mn from KKR-backed Emerald, plans to invest in original content

MUMBAI: YuppTV has raised $50 million funding from KKR-backed Emerald Media, making it the first significant private equity deal in the OTT space in India.

YuppTV will invest the new capital in creating web series in the regional space including Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Bengali, the company’s founder and CEO Uday Reddy said.

Emerald has acquired significant minority stake in YuppTV. This is the Series B round of funding for the company. It had raised $15 million in Series A funding in September last year from Poarch Creek Indian Tribe of Alabama.

Uday ReddyQueried as to how much stake Emerald has acquired, Reddy refused to comment on the specifics of the deal. “I can’t say how much stake they have got, but it is a significant minority stake,” he stated.

The company will not create original content in Hindi since there is a lot of content already available in that language. Rather, it will collaborate with the existing players to provide original content to its users.

YuppTV recently collaborated with Arre, ScoopWhoop, Culture Machine and Silly Monks, among others, to host their content on its platform. It has an online marketplace called YuppTV Bazaar that provides premium video content creators to upload, share and monetise their content.

“We will create web series for the youth in regional languages like Telugu, Tamil, Bengali and Marathi. We see a gap in regional-language original content,” Reddy said.

“In Hindi, we won’t create original content because there is already so much content available. We will partner other content creators. We have already partnered Arre, ScoopWhoop and other YouTube MCNs.”

YuppTVReddy said that Emerald Media, which was set up by PE giant KKR and Peter Chernin’s The Chernin Group, brings strategic benefits for the company as this will give YuppTV access to CA Media-backed companies like Endemol Shine India, Graphic Slate, Fluence and Only Much Louder. CA Media is the media investment vehicle of The Chernin Group.

KKR has committed up to $300 million to the Emerald Media platform from its KKR Asian Fund II, with The Chernin Group joining as a minority co-investor.

“They are not just bringing capital but domain knowledge as well. Endemol Shine India, Graphic India and Fluence will be of huge value for YuppTV in terms of content creation. Besides, Rajesh Kamath and Paul Aiello come with a lot of experience in the media sector,” Reddy averred.

Reddy said Emerald will decide who from its side will be on YuppTV’s board.

Besides investing in original content in India, YuppTV will also invest in international expansion into newer markets like Malaysia and the Middle East.

“We will invest in international expansion in new markets like Malaysia and Middle East, consolidating our position among the Indian diaspora, by acquiring new content and creating original shows to solidify our position in India,” he stated.

Reddy believes that the company will continue to be guided by the philosophy of TV everywhere. “We see massive growth for online video in India due to the presence of a large population of youth and the launch of 4G service by Reliance Jio. TV everywhere on mobile, desktop and TV is the way to go,” he stated.

YuppTV has 6–7 million visitors every month and 100,000 paid customers. It offers 250+ South Asian TV channels, 5,000+ movies and 100+ TV shows to worldwide audiences, with a focus on the USA, UK, Middle East, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean.

Reddy expects YuppTV to be profitable in the next two years. “We are not profitable today because there is a cash burn. We have substantial revenue streams. We hope to be profitable in the next two years,” he asserted.

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