Streaming Video Company Iflix Raises $133M In Funding To Enable African Expansion

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

Malaysian subscription streaming video service iflix, which is focused on emerging markets, has secured significant funding that will be used to facilitate the company’s African expansion plans.

The Netflix competitor announced that it had attracted investments amounting to $133m in new funding round led by U.S. media giant Hearst that was successful due to significant interest from both new investors and existing shareholders, according to TechCentral.

New investors in the latest round of funding included Singapore-based EDBI and clients of DBS private bank, while existing shareholders within Evolution Media, Sky, Catcha Group, Liberty Global, Jungle Ventures and PLDT added further investment.

The latest fundraising round increases the total investments raised by iflix in 2017 to over $220 million, according to C21Media.

Earlier this year the company announced the creation of iflix Africa to bring its service to sub-Saharan Africa while taking on the likes of Netflix and Showmax in the region.

The video-on-demand service plans to launch in South Africa during the third quarter of this year, but first aims to expand into other parts Africa.

The current expansion plan includes the launch of services in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, with iflix Africa taking the company’s global footprint to 23 territories, according to MyBroadband.

Funding to support African expansion

With headquarters in Cape Town, iflix will attempt to add further African nations to their current portfolio of emerging markets. The company is focused on the lower end of the streaming market, and will aim to launch its operations with mobile networks as partners.

Much of the new funding will be used to invest in local content to complement iflix’s international video content, iflix co-founder and group chief executive Mark Britt revealed.

“We are thrilled to welcome Hearst President and CEO Steven Swartz and Hearst Entertainment & Syndication President Neeraj Khemlani to the iflix family,” Britt said, according to ITP.

“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,” said Britt.

The Malaysian-based company, which operates in 18 Asian, Middle East and North African markets, claims to have the best of Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood and other regional and local programming, while they will also offer African customers an extensive collection of exclusive African content.

Despite being headquartered in the country from an African perspective, the service will not actually be immediately available in South Africa, as iflix will first take on the markets in other major African countries.

This may be due to the high level of competition in the South African market, with Netflix already present and local powerhouse Showmax, which is owned by Naspers, dominating the South African streaming video scene.