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Eros Now goes the Netflix way, licenses content to iQiyi in China

Eros Now has licensed its entire 11,000-strong library to Chinese streaming service iQiyi. Eros Now is inaccessible in China. Currently, streaming services require licenses to operate directly from China without licensing their content to an established player. The Eros Now deal follows in the footsteps of what Netflix did last year.

When Netflix launched in 130 new countries in 2016, the announcement came with a caveat. “The Netflix service has gone live in every country in the world but China, where we also hope to be in the future,” CEO Reed Hastings announced. That hope didn’t pan out, and Netflix ended up licensing the bulk of its original content to iQiyi, which is China’s largest video streaming service.

While the financial details of the deal were not disclosed, Eros International CEO Kishore Lulla said that the company hopes to earn $10 million in the first year of the agreement, according to an interview he gave to Sina. This deal comes as Eros Now expands internationally. This week, the company also announced a hardware deal with Xiaomi to make the service available in Indonesian households.

iQiyi is partly ad-supported and partly paywalled, like Hotstar, and claims to have over 500 million active monthly users.

Eros’ International expansion and tie-ups

  • The streaming service is available to Amazon Prime members on Amazon Channels across the US and UK. It also partnered with Smart TV company Foxxum in the UK to bundle Eros’s Bollywood library on the Foxxum TV App Store globally.
  • In India, it has partnered with Airtel to offer its catalogue within the Airtel TV app — it have a similar arrangement with Jio. It has also partnered with BSNL to bundle subscriptions with data packs, and has a partnership with proprietary streaming sticks like Amazon’s Fire TV and the now discontinued Teewe.
  • Eros Now app was bundled into Ola Cabs’ in-cab entertainment service Ola Play. It also partnered with Paytm and other wallet providers for payments.

How Eros Now makes money

Though Eros Now sells standalone subscriptions like Netflix does, it is very likely that direct subscribers are a very small portion of its declared subscriber count.

The company claimed that it had over 10 million subscribers last month. It plans to have 16 million by the end of fiscal 2019. Most of these subscribers come from partnerships with telecom operators, aggregator platforms and hardware manufacturers. It recently partnered with Grofers.

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The company does not disclose ARPU for its 10 million subscribers, though it’s likely to be far below the pricing for direct subscriptions. A ‘subscription’ to Eros Now is loosely enough defined that it’s possible for users to receive it as an add-on from things like new TVs and telecom subscriptions without paying anything more.

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