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Iflix secures $133m funding

US media giant Hearst has led a US$133m funding round in Malaysia-based SVoD service iflix to allow it to invest in exclusive local content in emerging markets.

Existing shareholders such as US cable giant Liberty Global and European pay TV operator Sky were also part of the funding round and have increased their investments in the Asian rival to Netflix.

New investors include Singapore-based EDBI and clients of DBS private bank. The new round brings the total funding raised by iflix in 2017 to more than US$220m. The firm launched in May 2015.

Earlier this year Liberty Global, Evolution Media and Sky invested in iflix to allow it to grow its footprint. Over the last 12 months, the service has grown from four markets to 19 across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The company has also agreed distribution partnerships with 27 telecommunications operators to bundle the iflix service with customers’ mobile and data subscriptions.

Iflix claims to offer 26,000 hours of content subtitled in nine languages, with local content in each market. Its first exclusive original production, stand-up comedy series Oi Jaga Mulut, debuted in Malaysia last week.

The firm has also partnered with TVOne to launch live football streaming in Indonesia. Last week, iflix announced it was producing an original drama series with Kris Aquino in the Philippines.

“As iflix continues to grow and pioneer new ways for consumers to enjoy entertainment on their terms, we were looking for a partner who could bring additional expertise and knowledge to our business,” said iflix co-founder and group CEO Mark Britt.

“Hearst is a leading investor and has many of the world’s most innovative and iconic video brands, including ESPN, A+E Networks, Vice, AwesomenessTV, Complex and more. This collaboration significantly deepens our bench of experts with our longstanding partners Evolution Media, Sky and Liberty Global to help drive iflix’s continuing growth.”

Hearst Entertainment & Syndication president Neeraj Khemlani said: “Iflix is riding the wave of exponential growth of the middle class in emerging markets that want more access to premium regional, local and Western content.”

Iflix was advised on the transaction by Moelis & Company LLC, Delta Partners and Herbert Smith Freehills


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