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Microsoft Streaming Deal Lifts Shares in India’s Eros

Shares of leading Bollywood film distributor Eros International soared by 38% on Thursday following news of the company’s link up with Microsoft to develop a new generation of video streaming platform.

The multinational company said that its Eros Now video operation would work with Microsoft Azure to develop its technology in three ways. They seek to build an intuitive platform across borders and languages. Interactive voice offerings, something particularly useful in areas of low literacy, will be developed. It will concentrate initially on 10 Indian languages. And, using multiple different Microsoft divisions, they will create an improved personal recommendation engine.

By virtue of its scale and longevity, Eros boasts a library of over 12,000 film, video and TV titles. Its Eros Now streaming service claims 155 million registered users and 18.8 million paying subscribers worldwide.

The company’s shares are traded in ADR form in New York and in the past year have been battered by short selling attacks. They leaped from $2.94 to $3.51 apiece, on Thursday. That is still a long way short of their 51-week high of $12.90. At the current price the company has a market capitalization of $265 million.

“The Online Video market has brought a paradigm shift in the way technology is used and will be used to enhance the customer journey and user experience. The objective and the goal of this collaboration is to ensure we become the primary innovators for the video business and a gold standard for the others to follow,” said Rishika Singh Lulla, CEO of Eros Digital.

“India is one of the fastest-growing digital entertainment and media markets worldwide, driven by the growth in online video content. AI and intelligent cloud tools will be the next drivers of the media business and will impact everything from content creation to consumer experience,” said Anant Maheshwari, president, Microsoft India.

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