Eros International Plc expects Eros Now to touch 50 mn paid subs in next three years

MUMBAI: Eros International Plc has set a target of 50 million paid subscribers for its over the top (OTT) platform Eros Now in the next three years. The platform has beaten the guidance by achieving the target of 16 million paid subscribers in just nine months of FY19.

The OTT platform has reached 15.9 million paid monthly subscribers by 31st December 2018. Eros Now had guided for 16 million paid subscribers by the end of FY19.

Eros Executive chairman and CEO Kishore Lulla commented, “Our Eros Now OTT platform has continued to grow rapidly and reached 15.9 million paid monthly subscribers as of December 31, 2018, a 22.3% increase over last quarter. We have achieved our previously announced year-end target of 16 million paying subscribers in just nine months. This tremendous achievement in a relatively short period of time demonstrates that we are well on our way to achieving 50 million paying subscribers in the next three years.”

For the three months ended 31st December 2018, Eros International Plc’s gross profit decreased by 6.9% to $32.3 million, compared to $34.7 million in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal. Operating profit was down 12.6% to $13.2 million. Revenue was up 17.6% at $76.7 million while cost of sales increased by 45.9% to $44.5 million.

Aggregate theatrical revenues increased by 69% to $21.8 million from $12.9 million. The variation in theatrical revenue is primarily due to mix of films. Eros’ film slate comprised of 25 films, of which two were medium budget and 23 were low budget as compared to four films in the three months ended December 31, 2017, of which all were low budget films.

The company’s slate of 25 films comprised of six Hindi films, 17 regional films and two Tamil/Telugu as compared to the same period last year where its slate of four films comprised three Hindi films and one regional film. In addition, Eros Now released three original series titled Smoke, Date Gone Wrong and Paisa Fek Tamasha Dekh.

Aggregate revenues from television syndication decreased by 34.4% to $19.3 million from $29.4 million due to lower catalogue sales during the period.

The aggregate revenues from digital and ancillary increased by 55.5% to $35.6 million from $22.9 million primarily on account of contribution from catalogue revenues and digital business.

“We achieved our strongest quarterly revenue performance in more than two years, $86.6 million in gross revenue and $76.7 million in reported revenue after the impact of IFRS 9 and 15. The growth was fuelled primarily by Eros Now and by $41.1 million in revenue across theatrical and television businesses,” Lulla stated.

“Our digital & ancillary business generated $35.6 million in revenue, a growth of 31.4% over last quarter, and represented 46.4% of our total revenue this quarter – the largest proportion ever. Eros Now achieved 15.9 million paid subscribers this quarter, which represents growth of 218% year-over-year, and registered users grew to more than 142 million, a 78% increase versus the prior year period.”

The theatrical slate this quarter included the critically acclaimed ‘Tumbbad’, ‘Boyz 2’ (Marathi), ‘Mumbai Pune Mumbai 3 (Marathi)’, Andhadhun’ (Hindi), ‘Helicopter Eela’ (Hindi) and ‘Namaste England’ (Hindi) and our twin Telugu releases ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ and ‘Savyasachi’ amongst others. Over the last nine months we have released 56 films and four digital series and are on track for our strongest year in terms of output. Consistent with our strategy to create compelling premium content within a controlled budget, we had 25 releases this quarter which spanned genres and budgets.

Our two December 2018 Eros Now digital premieres of our theatrical releases in an exclusive post-theatrical first window, ‘Happy Phir Bhagjayegi’ and ‘Manmarziyan’, drove an average 75 minutes of session time, which is materially higher than the industry average of 30-50 minutes across Indian OTT platforms in 2018. To put that in context, the average session time on YouTube is between 8-12 minutes.

Over the past nine months, Eros Now has digitally-premiered a total of 46 movies on Eros Now. This quarter Eros Now successfully premiered 19 movies across seven Indian languages: Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Assamese, Gujarati, Bengali and Kannada.

“We have grown our digital catalogue on the Eros Now Platform to over 12,000 movies across 10 Indian languages and counting. This quarter, we released one film or digital premiere on Eros Now weekly, added 165 music videos and 445 movie titles,” Lulla noted.

Eros said its FY20 slate includes Saif Ali Khan starrer ‘Kaptan’, the trilingual remake of ‘Haathi mere Saathi’, ‘Kaamiyab’, ‘Ticket to Bollywood’, and a host of regional releases. In addition, we have a host of remarkable originals such as ‘Dashavtar’, ‘Ponnyin Selvan’, ‘Flesh’, ‘Bhumi’ coming up on ErosNow that we look forward to releasing in the upcoming quarters.

In December, Eros had executed several significant long-term television syndication deals with leading TV networks around the world. The deal encompasses over 60 catalogue films from Eros’ library syndicated across global broadcast companies including Viacom – Colors in India, SABC in South Africa, E Vision in the UAE and Tanzania TV, among others.

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