iflix subscribers increase by 250% to 15 million

Kuala Lumpur-based streaming service iflix, which focuses on emerging markets, has crossed the 15 million subscribers mark on the back of 250% growth in the six months from January-June 2018.

iflix announced in April 2018 that it was switching its revenue model away from a Western-style SVOD service towards an advertising-supported, freemium model that is more appropriate for emerging markets.

The company has also been introducing more local-language content, which it claims has contributed towards a doubling in content consumption over the past five months, for an overall 22.84 billion minutes streamed since launch.

It aims to quadruple its commissioning slate by 2019 with 12 original television series, 30 feature-length movies and 75 short-form films.

However, as all OTT platforms are currently discovering, it will need to dig deep to fund a large increase in original content, despite the lower production costs in the regions it operates in, including Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

iflix co-founder and group CEO Mark Britt (pictured) recently said the company plans to raise at least two more financing rounds before going public. It last raised $133m in September 2017 in a round led by US-based Hearst Communications and Singapore-based EDBI. Shareholders also include Evolution Media, Sky, Catcha Group, Liberty Global, Jungle Ventures and PLDT Inc.

Existing iflix originals include a series based on Indonesian box office hit Magic Hour, which the company says outperformed international hits, including The Flash and Korean drama Goblin, in terms of viewing records. KL: Special Force, a Malaysian iflix original, gained a 34% share of total viewers, three times that of the next-best title.

iflix has also been ramping up its acquisition of sports rights, including Malaysian football, Bangladesh cricket, Formula E and most recently matches from the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The company streamed all the World Cup matches on its Kwesé-iflix service across Africa.

Britt said in a statement: “2018 is already a transformational year for iflix. We continue to be passionately obsessed with what emerging markets customers need and want. The huge growth we’ve seen across the business is a testament to that commitment.”