iFlix Raises $133 Million as it Looks to Dominate Asia

Iflix, which started in May 2015 in selected Asian countries, has raised $133 million to boost its business in emerging markets.

The streaming service has landed $300 million in investments to date thanks to its impressive services and availability in 19 countries and expansion into Africa and the Middle East.

The Investors

The Netflix-like service provider, iflix has managed to attract an impressive group of investors – US media giant Hearst, Singapore Economic Development Board’s corporate investment arm EDBI, DBS Bank Singapore’s undisclosed clients – joining the existing investors including Evolution Media, UK broadcaster Sky, Malaysia’s Catcha Group, Liberty Global, Jungle Ventures and PLDT.

The Netflix alternative has recently completed a raise of $90 million from Liberty Global, Zain Sky, Catcha Group and Evolution Media in March this year. Sky network has been a constant supporter having invested $45 million last year and it keeps pouring in the money to help strengthen the business of iflix in the emerging markets.

Evolution Media and Catcha Group provided a pre-launch $30 million funding to kick-start iflix. While Netflix is way ahead of the iflix, however, the closest challenge faced by the Netflix-like streaming service will be from Singapore’s HOOQ and PCCW Media-owned Vuclip, and local service providers.

Having reported the number of registered numbers to be 5 million in March, there’s been no update since then. Iflix, despite not announcing the exact figures, is saying that its subscribers have increased 3x, whereas the user engagement has increased 2x, while the revenue is up by 230% year-on-year.

CEO’s Remarks

In an interview, Iflix CEO Mark Britt spoke about Netflix saying,

“We very genuinely don’t see Netflix as a competitor, we see ourselves as providing a new service for the mass markets”.

And rightly so, as Netflix targets high-end customers from around the world, whereas iflix targets only select markets.

He further said,

“If Netflix is the iPhone of content streaming, our aspiration is to be the Android.”

Brit looks in no mood to compete with the media-giant Netflix, rather he wants to use it to their own advantage,

“We’d love to be a secondary choice to the upper socials — if you love Netflix you should probably get Iflix as an addition — but for the mass market, the majority of their consumption is on a mobile device.”

China remains the largest target market in Asia, considering the fact that Media Partner Asia’s estimate of online video consumption declines from $20 billion to $3.2 billion by 2020 if China is left out. There is certainly a huge room for iflix to compete with Netflix, however, iflix has no presence in China. If iflix can get access to the Chinese market, it could be a game-changer.

Talking about the Unique Selling Proposition, Britt said

“We’ve realized the key for us is local content, not the Western content studios — the majority of our top 10 content is regional or local. Western content sets the bar for binge-watching, but in terms of reaching the mass market, what’s having a bigger impact is taking content from local cinemas or distributors.”

He said that iflix is aiming to enter new markets:

“The opportunity is very real in emerging markets globally. TV has gone from stalling in the last few years to actual decline in most emerging markets. Our understanding of that is that it is actually yesterday’s product [since] the majority of the emerging classes worldwide are aged under 25.”

Talking about the prospects of iflix he said, “We’re the only platform talking with [studios and producers] about what this new experience should look like for these 1.3 billion people [in emerging markets] in the next few years”.

Feature Writer