Liberty Global joins $90m iflix funding round

Kuala Lumpur-based streaming service iflix has raised $90m in fresh funding from US cable operator Liberty Global, Middle East telecoms operator Zain and other investors.

The investment will be used the fund the service’s global expansion. Also joining the funding round were existing backers including the UK’s Sky, which invested $45m in iflix last year, along with Malaysia’s Catcha Group and US investment firm Evolution Media Capital (EMC), which both backed the company at start-up stage.

Initially launching across Southeast Asia, iflix is available in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Brunei, the Maldives, Pakistan and last month rolled out in Vietnam.

Last month, the company also announced a joint venture with Kuwait-based Zain to launch across the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region, starting with Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

“We are incredibly excited with the demand we are seeing for iflix in the Middle East and Africa, as well as other new markets in Asia and worldwide,” said iflix co-founder and group CEO Mark Britt.

“There are currently more than 2.5 billion people with smartphones in emerging markets who have a passion for cultural influences from around the globe and want access to the best entertainment content available, easily and reliably. It is our aim to make iflix available to each and every one of them.”

Liberty Global’s chief programming officer Bruce Mann said: “Investing in an innovative emerging business like iflix enables us to gain an even greater insight into subscription video-on-demand services as we continue to develop our own evolving video entertainment propositions for millions of our customers throughout Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.”

While facing competition from Netflix and Amazon, iflix focuses on emerging markets with larger volumes of local content and cheaper pricing than its US rivals.

Without revealing any numbers, iflix also said it has seen “growth in active accounts” and more than 5 billion minutes streamed. It also said that it has more than 170 content relationships across Hollywood, regional and local studios and distributors.