Pan European broadcaster Sky has retuned its focus on online streaming and emerging markets with a US$45 million investment in VoD, Netflix style aspirant, iflix, in Southeast Asia.
The “strategic deal” will see the two companies work together initially to identify areas of future collaboration. iflix, which has been operating for one year, has launched in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines and charges upwards of around NZ$3 per month for streaming services.
iflix claims it has already signed up more than 1 million members and t plans to extend its service to new ASEAN markets in the coming months. The streaming company is a joint venture between Catcha Group, a Malaysia-based diversified digital investments group, and U.S.-based investment firm Evolution Media Capital. To date the company has raised US$30 million in funding from Catcha, PLDT, a telecom conglomerate in the Philippines, and Singapore-based VC firm Jungle Ventures to expand in Southeast Asia.
“iflix has quickly established itself as Southeast Asia’s most exciting and fastest-growing streaming TV service. There are lots of opportunities for Sky and iflix to work together and share expertise as both companies continue to expand,” said Sky’s Group CFO, Andrew Griffith.
In addition to its Pay TV reach, Sky also runs NOW TV, Sky Online and Sky Go on the web and mobile.
iflix co-founder and group CEO Mark Britt said, "we are thrilled to welcome Sky to the iflix family. As pioneers in the global broadcasting industry and true leaders in television and media, they share our passion for delivering market-leading content and services through innovation. Sky’s investment will further support our commitment to providing our members with the best in entertainment.”
Sky was clearly drawn to the streaming TV player’s smart positioning in the SE Asian markets, where it is busy striking deals with local telco providers in a defensive play against the Netflix threat.
Malaysian carrier Celcom is the latest to join the iflix tribe allowing all Celcom subscribers to get a two-month free trial of iflix using an iflix app that gives them access to unlimited movies or shows across multi-devices.
iflix has also inked deals with DiGi and Telekom Malaysia.
Prior to securing the deal with Sky, iflix was talking to investors in order to raise US$150 million to grow the service across Asia, and expand into Africa, Latin America and other emerging markets.
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