Hearst, an American focused media investment company has invested USD133 million iflix, a Malaysia-based video streaming platform that is competing with Netflix in the Asian axis.
Other investors in the round included Singapore-based EDBI and clients of DBS private bank.
iflix has received investment from other noteworthy investors such as Evolution Media, Sky PLC , Catcha Group, Liberty Global, Jungle Ventures and PLDT Inc increased their investments.
It will be recalled that iflix launched its services across Africa to add to its Asian and Middle East focus.
The new round brings total funding raised by iflix this calendar year to an excess of $220 million. Proceeds from the round will be used to invest in its local content strategy. iflix recently unveiled its first exclusive original production, Oi Jaga Mulut, an audacious, uncensored, no holds barred stand-up comedy series, which since debuting in Malaysia last week, has skyrocketed to the leading show on the service. Partnering with TVOne, iflix also launched live premiere football streaming, available for the first time in Indonesia, which immediately became one of the highest performing shows there with more than 34,000 unique viewers tuning in the first week of airing. Last week, iflix Philippines announced its collaboration with the Philippines’ Queen of All Media, Kris Aquino, to commission an original drama series.
iflix Co-founder and Group CEO Mark Britt said: “We are thrilled to welcome Hearst President and CEO Steven Swartz and Hearst Entertainment & Syndication President Neeraj Khemlani to the iflix family. 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. 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.” “From the beginning, our vision for iflix has been to build a word-class service for the local customer, transforming the way everyday consumers enjoy entertainment in emerging markets.
These new funds will allow us to further execute on our local content strategy and expand our technology and development teams so we can continue to rapidly evolve the iflix service to meet the unique challenges of emerging markets,” continued Britt. President of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication 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. We look forward to working with our new partners Sky, Liberty Global, Evolution Media and Catcha Group, as well as emerging market telcos, to support iflix’s innovative founders and management team in their rapid expansion plans.” Founding shareholders Evolution Media and Catcha Group have participated in all preceding capital raisings and further increased their support this round. Evolution Media Founder and Co-Managing Partner Rick Hess said: “As a founding partner of iflix, Evolution Media, along with Catcha Group and Mark, were inspired by the opportunity to reach the ‘next’ 1bn consumers.
The phenomenal growth of iflix has challenged many of the preconceptions we have in Hollywood about how entertainment is consumed in emerging markets around the world. It’s fascinating to see iflix learn, scale and forge this new path.” Catcha Group Co-founder and Group CEO Patrick Grove commented: “Today marks the next step in our journey in creating a category defining company that revolutionizes the way people in emerging markets consume and enjoy content.
The company started operations in May 2015. iflix disclosed that it was advised by Moelis & Company LLC, Delta Partners and Herbert Smith Freehills on the transaction.