Streaming Service YuppTV Gets $50M Investment

YuppTV app screenshot - H 2016
Courtesy of YuppTV

KKR-backed Emerald Media buys a stake in the U.S.-based company, which offers South Asian content for diaspora audiences worldwide.

Emerald Media, a pan-Asian investment fund backed by U.S. private equity giant KKR, has invested $50 million in video platform YuppTV.

The Atlanta-based over-the-top (OTT) service offers South Asian content, from TV channels to movies-on-demand, in 14 languages, primarily targeting diaspora audiences in the U.S., U.K., Middle East, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean.

Emerald said it has acquired a “significant minority stake” in YuppTV, which will use the funding to enter new markets and expand its content library through original productions and acquisitions. YuppTV claims over 10 million mobile app downloads in addition to 50 million pre-installs on Samsung TVs worldwide and over 300,000 downloads on LG smart TVs.

Emerald Media was launched last year with a focus to invest in Asian digital and entertainment businesses and is headed by former Viacom18 India executive Rajesh Kamat and the former CEO of Fox's Star TV Asia, Paul Aiello.

The company is backed with $300 million in funding from KKR, in alliance with Peter Chernin's the Chernin Group, giving the latter the option to participate in any investments by Emerald. The Chernin Group is not participating in the YuppTV financing, which marks the first investment by Emerald since the company's launch.

In recent years, the Chernin Group's Asian investment arm CA Media has invested in Indonesia and India, where its assets include television content producer Endemol Shine India, comic character and animation company Graphic India, music management company Only Much Louder (OML) and Fluence, which manages the digital rights of top Bollywood stars such as Amitabh Bachchan.

YuppTV CEO and promoter Uday Reddy said that the company hoped to leverage Emerald's “global media relationships” with the likes of Endemol, OML, Fluence and Graphic India to create original programming.

Launched in 2006, the service offers over 250 channels in addition to over 5,000 movies and other video content. YuppTV recently launched in India with an initial focus on the South Indian regional language market before gradually expanding nationwide.

Emerald Media managing director Kamat said, “The world is moving from traditional consumption to multi-screen delivery mediums. YuppTV provides a unique combination of technology, strong content relationships and revenues of scale and will be an anchor to our vision of building a new age media company.”