Let’s get down to business.
Imagine being able to access a crazy huge selection of THOUSANDS of TV shows, movies and more. From all over the globe – shows from Hollywood and Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai, Thailand and Tokyo… And imagine being able to watch it wherever you want, whenever you want, 24/7 on your phone, laptop, tablet or TV. You can even download and watch it offline. All for less than the price of a cup of coffee.
iflix is the world’s leading entertainment service for emerging markets, offering users unlimited access to thousands of TV shows, movies and more. With a vast selection everyone’s favourite comedies, drama, K-drama, Turkish drama, Bollywood, Nollywood, cartoons, movies and more from Hollywood, the UK, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, iflix places the entertainment people want at their fingertips to either stream or download. For one low monthly fee, iflix subscribers can watch on their mobile phone, laptop, tablet, TV… wherever, whenever.
iflix was created for the rapidly growing, emerging middle-class population and their increasing demand for great content. Over the next five years, more than a billion people will join the middle class in emerging markets. One of the first things they will purchase, if they don’t already own one, is a smartphone.
Statistically that smartphone will be a $200 Android phone with the computing processing power of a super computer. And so, when we look forward to 2022, we have a world with a billion people from emerging markets joining the middle class with a supercomputer in their hand, all wanting to be a part of a global community. This is where iflix comes in.
iflix was founded by Catcha Group, leading international investment focused on emerging markets, and Evolution Media, a merchant bank focused on the media, sports, and entertainment industries. In April 2015, the Company announced the formation of its Advisory Board, comprised of Hollywood’s most elite business and creative leaders.
WHY EMERGING MARKETS?
“WHY NOT?”, says our bratty/curious inner-child. Because the truth is, there’s a bigger purpose to all of this. Focusing on emerging markets means we can TRULY make a difference and enrich lives. Introducing an enjoyable service that attracts people will open them up to the amazing wonders of online entertainment.
Because it’s not an easy feat and we relish the challenge. Creating a world-class Internet TV product that can work within the limitations of infrastructure and device constraints; convenient payment options that are relevant and accessible; and a personalised service that really connects with each individual in different markets, are all really fun obstacles to overcome.
Because the opportunity and potential for growth in emerging markets is absolutely mind-blowing!
There is a set of conditions, which tends to exist universally across emerging markets—prevalence of piracy, inconsistent infrastructure, inconsistent quality and distribution of internet connectivity, expensive and limited mobile data, low paid television penetration, low credit-card penetration and a lack of familiarity with online payment options. We’ve been able to address and solve many of those challenges through technology and commercial partnerships. We have further been able to take the learnings and solutions from one market and apply them new ones and new regions.
iflix launched its service in Malaysia and the Philippines in May 2015.
In February 2017, iflix announced the establishment of ‘iflix Arabia’, its joint venture with Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator in the Middle East and Africa. iflix Arabia is headquartered in Dubai and will trade commercially as “iflix”, adding Zain’s territories of operation to iflix’s global footprint, including Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
In June 2016, iflix announced the establishment of ‘iflix Africa’. iflix Africa is headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa and trades commercially as ‘iflix’, with launches in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Zimbabwe. As of December 2017, iflix’s global footprint has increased to 25 territories worldwide, with additional regional markets to be added over the coming months.
In April 2015, iflix announced the completion of a $30 million round of funding led by leading international investment firm, Catcha Group and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), the largest integrated telecommunications company in the Philippines. Shortly after, the Company welcomed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed and prestigious studios as an investor in the business.
In March 2016, iflix announced the completion of a large new round of funding, led by Sky PLC, Europe’s leading entertainment company. Indonesian company Emtek Group, through its subsidiary Surya Citra Media, one of Indonesia’s leading television and content companies, also participated in the round.
In March 2017, the Company announced it had completed a $90 million funding round to support its expansion in the Middle East, Africa and new markets in Asia. The financing included new investors – Liberty Global plc, major distributor of TV entertainment, sports and other programming, Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator in the Middle East and Africa with whom iflix recently established a joint venture ‘iflix Arabia’ in the MENA region, and a privately held investment management firm that invests in consumer businesses across Africa, alongside additional capital from existing shareholders Sky PLC, Catcha Group and EMC.
In August 2017, the Company announced it had completed a $133 million funding round led by Hearst, one of America’s largest diversified media, information and services companies. The financing included additional new investors – Singapore-based EDBI and clients of DBS private bank. Existing shareholders Evolution Media Sky PLC, Catcha Group, Liberty Global, Jungle Ventures and PLDT Inc. also increased their investments.
Currently linear television businesses in emerging markets have a collective market capitalisation of approximately $10 billion. With the global shift in consumer viewing behaviours and demands especially evident amongst younger generations, we believe whoever successfully captures that market segment over the next 10-20 years, will have a business worth tens of billions of dollars. Therefore, the question becomes how much are you willing to invest to learn to try and win that battle?
For us, we look for daily improvement in our core underlying metrics whilst we continue to learn and innovate. If we continue to do this, we believe that we can build a business that generates incredibly substantial value, similar to the giant media conglomerates of today and yesterday.
We are pioneers in emerging markets – markets which are extraordinarily diverse in terms of their language, cultures, customs, content and regulations.
Comparatively, our markets have largely different requirements – i.e. how they are setup, how they go to market, levels of localization required, compliance with censorship regimes, and what content is available. Therefore, we run each of our territories as a standalone business.
Unlike, some international operators, who run global businesses headquartered out a regional office / tax havens, and avoid operating locally, we take a far more rigorous approach. We’ve persisted because we believe it’s the right thing to do and the right way to operate a business.
We focus on unique challenges that are hugely impactful in our markets but are often neglected at a global level / by international companies entering our markets. To a degree, we employ the same strategy everywhere. Localise the service and bring the right content to people for the right price.
When you come from / are raised in a particular culture, you bring a fundamental bias to the table when it comes to approaching and engaging with other cultures – despite the best and most genuine intentions and deepest passions. This is fundamentally true, whether you are a person or an organization.
The impact of this – in a macro context is, when you sit in an office in LA or NY – Africa tends to look like one single country, and SEA looks like another single country. On the one hand, this treatment, where the world essentially looks the same regardless of geography, enables extraordinary ubiquitous technology companies like Microsoft, Google and Facebook, to operate successfully on a global scale. On the other, it trivialises the significance and uniqueness of local cultures and nuances, critical for media companies trying to succeed in our markets.
Our experiences have taught us unequivocally, that the future of media and TV often looks very different from one country to another, even when comparing neighbouring territories. We have four language hubs around the world with the sole purpose of localizing content through subtitling, dubbing and censoring, to ensure that we consistently meet the demands of local customers.
We build local teams with strong insights into their markets and set up local businesses on the ground. We buy local content. We provide local versions of our app and our site. We operate a global business and many local businesses. We want to get the best of both worlds. We want to ensure that we have a local focus with local people who understand their market and run an end-to-end local business, while simultaneously benefiting from global learnings and global expertise.
We are passionately focused on our local customers, and have set out to create a service personalised for each individual user.
We aim to provide users with a world class service created just for them, focused on individual customer experience. Our newly introduced features including Channels, ADD and FOLLOW enable significantly deeper personalised experiences and intuitive ways of discovering content.
CONTENT AND ORIGINALS
iflix offers consumers a vast library of highly acclaimed top Western television series, popular regional shows, and exceptionally popular, premium local series, movies and live events.
When we first launched the service, our content offering was heavily Western skewed. As the business has grown and we’ve developed significantly deeper insights on customers and local markets, we realized that if we wanted to be the mass-market service of choice, we needed to considerably localise our offering.
If you’re a niche premium service, you can be Hollywood focused and capture the top end of the market, (generally native English speakers / expats) who are familiar with those programs. In that world, you’re competing head to head with other global competitors.
iflix, comparatively is designed for the mass market, specifically for emerging markets – providing people with entertainment that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. The mass market in emerging markets wants local content. Our local content strategy, focuses on procuring the content that people want to watch and put it in the palms of their hands.
In some of our markets for example, local producers and distributors have content that was previously only released in cinemas. Once those features completed their theatrical runs, they were archived an unavailable to fans anywhere. We’ve done deals to make those films and entertainment franchises available on iflix. In doing so, we are further able to support local top tier industry players in broadening their distribution channels out of cinema. It is our aim to build a strong, supportive entertainment community that puts consumers at the forefront of our businesses.
Our local content strategy showcases huge local content tent poles focusing on first-run local movies and a bold slate of original programming. iflix has greenlit a number of projects which underpin the company’s commitment to localisation and supporting home-grown talent, with the aim of creating impactful, locally relevant content that has a familiar appeal, whilst lifting the bar on local free-to-air TV output. iflix is in a unique position not just to make shows, but to create a positive difference to the production ecosystem. This we hope will open up a whole new level of creativity that we hope our audiences, and the creative community will respond to.
In emerging markets the decision to pirate (content) is not a moral question. People do not actively want to steal. People want access to the world’s best content, which up until recently was only affordably available through piracy.
It is our aim to offer consumers an alternative that is better, safer and more convenient than piracy, that further respects local cultural and religious standards and preferences in each market we operate in.
In doing so, it enables us to additionally help build a thriving, supportive and cooperative industry ecosystem, which fosters creativity and innovation, generating jobs in creative fields, and providing a paid, legal platform for content creators, producers and entertainers to showcase their talent.