Mubi makes India push after striking Times Group deal

Online subscription film service Mubi is making a push into India after agreeing a deal with the investment arm of Indian media company The Times Group.

Mubi_Times_BridgeTimes Bridge joins as an investor will support Mubi as it expands into the Indian market, which is already the third biggest source of traffic to the service after the US and UK.

Times Bridge will offer insights into local audience trends and counsel Mubi on brand positioning, engagement potential, monetisation and public policy.

It will also help facilitate local partnerships and outreach with talent and influencers and give Mubi access to The Times Group advertising inventory.

Mubi founder and CEO Efe Cakarel said the company is “very ambitious” about its India prospects and aims to engage with a “passionate community with deep cultural ties to film”.

“Our platform and programming, combined with Times Bridge’s local knowledge and audience, will quickly position Mubi as a meaningful OTT service catering to India’s growing base of internet users,” said Cakarel.

Times Bridge CEO Rishi Jaitly said: “Mubi is an original idea with a decade’s worth of proven appeal amongst fans of independent cinema worldwide.

“Film is inextricably linked to India’s heritage and, in a country with rapidly-changing tastes, we are confident that the Mubiplatform will delight a meaningful audience seeking high-quality, curated, global cinema.”

The news comes after Asian entertainment company Huanxi invested US$2 million in Mubi at a US$125 million valuation in November 2016.

Mubi said that Nicolas Winding Refn, the film director behind movies like The Neon Demon and Drive, is also a recent investor in the service.

Mubi offers a curated collection of 30 films, which are each available to watch for 30 days. With a focus on arthouse movies, the service is available in over 250 countries, which each has its own content line-up.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Huanxi invested US$50 million (€45 million) in Mubi in 2016 and took a 70% stake in a new joint venture called Mubi China. This was cancelled because of regulatory concerns in China. Huanxi did invest US$2 million in Mubi later the same year.

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