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By Sankalp Phartiyal and Shilpa Jamkhandikar
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian movie production house Eros Group is in preliminary talks with Apple and other major content distributors to sell its entire content library of films and music, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.
The other parties in the fray include Amazon and Netflix, but talks are in very early stages, said the source, who declined to be named as the discussions are private.
India's Economic Times reported the talks earlier in the day. The newspaper, which cited multiple sources familiar with the matter, said the deal could be worth around $1 billion.
Reuters could not immediately ascertain the potential deal value, but market watchers expect it to be substantially lower.
A spokeswoman for Eros was not reachable for comment. Apple said it does not comment on speculation, while a spokeswoman for Amazon also declined to comment on what she called "rumour and speculation". Netflix also declined to comment on the matter.
The talks come at a time when major global content streaming companies are jockeying to boost local Indian television, movie and music offerings in a bid to lure millions of users coming online in the world's fastest growing Internet services market.
Netflix and Amazon have both been working aggressively on securing exclusive Indian content for their respective platforms that both launched in the country last year.
The source said the $1 billion value quoted in the ET report was too high and that Eros' library was worth less, adding Apple was unlikely to splurge on Indian content.
Apple, which recently began assembling some of its lower-end iPhones in India, has been vying to boost market share in the price-conscious Indian market. Apple's iPhones currently account for only a small sliver of the smartphones sold in the country.
Eros, whose library includes some major hits from the Hindi film industry, or Bollywood - such as 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan', 'Dabangg' and 'Bajirao Mastani' - has also expanded its offerings in recent years to films in other Indian languages such as Tamil and Bengali. Eros says it owns a library comprising more than 3,000 Indian films.
(Reporting By Sankalp Phartiyal, Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Rahul Bhatia and Devidutta Tripathy in Mumbai, and Samantha Kareen Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Euan Rocha)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)