Netflix’s rival broadcasting platform in the Middle East, Starzplay, has secured $ 25 million in debt financing from Abu Dhabi-based Ruya Partners, just as the Covid-19 pandemic increases the demand for home entertainment.
Debt financing deal
The investment will help enhance Starz Play’s geographic footprint and ability to reach customers, acquire and produce original content, and increase long-term value.
The financing is also the first technology investment for a company based in the Abu Dhabi Global Market in the United Arab Emirates.
The announcement came after a detailed assessment of the Dubai-based internet streaming platform’s growth potential and financial fundamentals.
The investment is also Starz Play’s first debt financing from a regional investor, in addition to the $ 125 million it has raised from Lionsgate-owned STARZ and State Street Global Advisors since its inception in 2015.
“STARZPLAY financing is one of our major investment steps in the technology sector in the United Arab Emirates,” Rashid Seddiqi, co-founder and managing partner of Ruya Partners, said in a statement.
Unprecedented competition in the broadcast platform market
The pandemic has pushed movie and television audiences to consume online streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney +.
Netflix recently revealed in its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2020 that it surpassed 100 million paying customers for the first time, allowing it to generate enough cash to fund its expansion.
Fast and promising growth
Starzplay is available in 20 countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan, and is the first entity in the UAE to be licensed in the video-on-demand segment.
The EMEA region accounted for 41% of Netflix’s net payments in the fourth quarter
Disney’s live streaming service has garnered 86.8 million subscribers, exceeding its “enthusiastic expectations,” Walt Disney CEO Bob Tangle told investors last year.
Last year, Dubai-based satellite channel OSN revealed that its streaming service had seen a nine-fold increase in content consumption and a seventeen-fold increase in mobile device downloads since the start of March.
Starzplay has more than 1.8 million subscribers
The company, which has a market share of more than 32%, recorded exceptional growth in the past year, with 141% in the number of users.
The news of the $ 25 million debt financing comes after its strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi Media, the leading television broadcasting service in the United Arab Emirates, to display all UFC events live as well as a comprehensive library of video-on-demand content for past fights, shows, and interviews.
last year, Netflix signed an exclusive five-year partnership with animation studio Myrkott to produce shows and movies focusing on Saudi Arabia. The American entertainment giant also signed a deal with the production and financing group “TV 11” to produce eight new films.