Malaysia: iflix aims for Africa, Middle East markets, after taking on Indonesia

Catcha Group’s TV streaming business, iflix, is eyeing an expansion into the frontier markets in Africa and the Middle East, according to a report.

The Australian reported that the company sees itself on track to becoming a multi-billion business, riding on its expansion plans.

In March, it had announced its first venture beyond Southeast Asia, into Pakistan.

Chief executive officer Mark Britt commented that there is $50 billion in listed market cap in cable TV businesses and free-to-air businesses in emerging markets, excluding India and China.

“In the next 10 to 15 years, I don’t think cable businesses will continue to exist, and I think free-to-air businesses will get much smaller so I think there’s going to be a migration of value from traditional media to new entrants. So whether it’s iflix or anyone else, someone is going to build a multi-billion business in these markets. And right now we’re backing ourselves to be aggressive enough and focused enough that we think it’s us,” he said.

Initiated in Southeast Asia, iflix announced just a week ago that it has extended its footprint into the largest market in the region – Indonesia.

The Kuala Lumpur-based iflix has coordinated with state-owned telecommunications group, PT Telkom Indonesia Tbk, to offer new and existing Indihome customers up to 12 months of free iflix subscription, sponsored by Telkom.

Where US-based streaming service Netflix has failed to enter Indonesia due to cultural sensitivities, iflix’s willingness to comply with regulation and local cultural standards has given it access to the most populous Southeast Asian market.

Netflix was blocked by the Telkom because the company refused to submit its content for censorship in January.

Another of iflix’s advantage over the American rival is its localised programmes, catered to each market. Iflix also translates programmes into local languages for the markets it serves.

Catcha had earlier considered an initial public offering of iflix on the ASX in late 2014 but has since raised enough private money to drive its expansion.

Britt said that the next few rounds of funding will likely be private as well, as private investor appetite for high growth businesses in emerging markets have proven to be robust.

“What has changed is we’ve quickly pivoted and realised what we’ve solved are not Asian problems. What we’ve solved are technical and business model challenges for emerging markets so in that world, for us, Nigeria, Ghana, Iran, Morocco are just as interesting from a business model point of view as Korea or Singapore,” he was quoted.

Also read:

Malaysia: Europe’s Sky pumps $45m into iflix, forms strategic partnership

Hollywood’s MGM invests undisclosed amount in iflix

Philippines: PLDT turns $15m investment in iflix into shares, now holds 7.5%

On-demand services launching across Asia but paid subscriptions will be a challenge

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.