Eros STX Global Corporation (“ErosSTX”, “Eros” or the “Company”) (NYSE: ESGC), a global Indian entertainment company, today announced significant corporate developments as follows:
Completion of previously announced sale of STX subsidiary
- Eros to retain 15% non-voting stake in STX with long-term monetisation potential
- Company has fully repaid $152 million of outstanding JP Morgan credit facility and subordinated credit facilities at STX level
Several strategic additions to Board of Directors and management team
- Rishika Lulla Singh as the new Executive Chairperson
- Pradeep Dwivedi as the new CEO
- Rajesh Chalke as the new CFO
Company to change corporate name to “Eros Media World PLC” (“Eros Media”)
Strong near-term revenue growth and significant reduction in net debt
- Over $120 million in revenues expected for FYE 2023
- Current Net Debt of $130 million as of the end of FYE 2022, expected to decrease to $115 million by the end of FYE 2023
–Deep and valuable content library combined with multiple monetisation channels positioned to drive long-term revenue growth and underpin capital efficient growth strategy
- Eros Now to target monetisation of existing content library and new original series through global partnerships and distribution arrangements, with a focus on more profitable direct-to-consumer subscribers
- Innovative opportunities such as AVOD, blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) expected to drive significant incremental upside, as well as renewed focus on growing Eros Now Music
The global media landscape is changing rapidly. In many cases, the pandemic has driven growth in digital businesses, backed by emerging technologies such as blockchain and NFTs. The number of online video users in India has grown to over 500 million users with a 52% increase in time spent as compared to pre-pandemic levels. The Company’s focus will be on leveraging the value of its unique and large Content library and two main verticals: Studio and Digital. In an environment attracting significant investments and M&A potential, especially following the Sony-Zee merger, Eros Media is one of only a few stand-alone media players at scale. The Company is ideally placed to capitalize on strategic opportunities.
Content Library and Studio Business
Eros Media’s studio division, which already owns, manages and controls one of the world’s largest Indian-language film libraries of over 3,000 titles spanning decades, will be very focused on monetising its library of content-driven films with appropriate budgets to generate an attractive rate of return. The studio division continues to exploit burgeoning demand for content across streamers, cable and satellite companies and the rapidly resurgent theatrical window. Key upcoming films include ‘One-Two-Three’, ‘Good Luck Jerry’, ‘Gorkhaa’, ‘Raksha Bandhan’, ‘An Action Hero’ and several untitled films. The opportunities in the Eros Now Music business form an integral part of Eros Media’s studio division.
Eros Now will continue to focus on direct-to-customer relationships, improving overall penetration and distribution of Eros Now as a service in Tier 2 and 3 regions of India, as well as migrating subscribers into higher ARPU plans and international markets. Eros Now will continue to target monetisation of its existing content library through global partnerships, bundling and distribution arrangements which are expected to drive organic revenue growth in a capital efficient manner.
Eros Now Music
The music destination benefits from the combined content platforms of Eros’ Studio and Digital Businesses which will support Eros Now Music by augmenting its existing music library, as well as through new originals, non-film music and independent artists across languages and genres, thereby elevating its current position. Eros Now Music expects to release hundreds of originals over the next year, which will supplement existing content and help grow the platform into a preferred destination for music. Established and emerging artists with expertise in genres such as Indie, pop, Sufi, EDM, Hip Hop, and New Age, amongst others will showcase their talent across regional languages including Hindi, Punjabi, Bhojpuri, and Haryanvi, thus supporting local talent as well as connecting to a wider music audience.
Blockchain & Partnership Ecosystem:
Eros’ strategic partnership with Xfinite for global AVOD monetization allows for Eros Now to efficiently monetise a large and engaged userbase. Eros Media has opportunities to look at alternative forms of community creation and content monetization through Mzaalo’s NFT marketplace, which is in its beta launch stage, connecting consumers and NFT collectors to native and globally acclaimed artists, celebrities, athletes and more. The ecosystem is powered by the Xfinite Entertainment Token (XET) built on the Algorand blockchain. XET is available on exchanges such as BitMart, MEXC, Tinyman, Algofi and on high performing yield-farming platforms like Yieldly. XET is listed on centralised and decentralised exchanges giving the digital token utility and increasing the utility token’s public profile.
Former Executive Chairman, Mr. Kishore Lulla’s Statement:
“As the business and market matures, I am confident in Eros Media’s execution capability with fundamentals on track. I am pleased to announce Pradeep Dwivedi as CEO and welcome Rajesh Chalke as CFO to usher in a new era for Eros Media, with guidance from an experienced board. I will step down from the executive positions at Eros Media in the near future and dip into my entrepreneurial fibre to build the biggest Web3 and Blockchain Indian eco-system for the world via Eros Investments1. The amalgamation of the virtual/meta world, with high fidelity gaming and digital goods/NFT’ bound via de-centralized technology in the Web2, Web 3 and Immersive experiences is principal premise of Eros Investment’s focus over the next 10 years”
The Company is poised for growth following the strategic initiatives outlined above:
- Revenue Growth: Meaningful revenue growth expected over the near-term with over $120 million in revenues expected for FYE 2023
- Adjusted EBITDA: Strong Adjusted EBITDA expected over the near-term with expanding Adjusted EBITDA margins. Over $30 million in Adjusted EBITDA expected for FYE 2023. Note that Adjusted EBITDA calculation includes impact of content amortisation, consistent with historical Eros International Plc reporting.
- Cash & Debt, Net opening cash was over $13 million in FY 2023, and Net Debt is expected to be below $115 million by the end of FYE 2023 through an increase in free cash flow, down from $130 million at end of FYE 2022. The Company’s debt consists of well-structured and fully financed and collateralised facilities across the UK, UAE & India.
- XET Tokens: As part of our agreement with the blockchain enabled AVOD ecosystem of Mzaalo/Xfinite, we have a credit balance of 400m XET Utility tokens as of end of FYE 2022, with represents a market value ranging from $8 million to $80 million, according to recent trading data. We have however, conservatively decided to account for it in our financial statements only upon realisation following a sale of the tokens, and not on accrual basis.
- Content Investments in our business are expected to be sustained at levels of $30 million to $40 million over the next 3 years, to ensure that our studio division, Eros Motion Pictures, continues to provide refreshed content for our streaming service, Eros Now, as well as the larger distribution ecosystem.