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Iflix secures new $133m funding led by Hearst

AMMAN, August 9, 2017

Iflix, a leading subscription video on demand (SVoD) service for emerging markets, has completed a $133-million funding round as it continues to deliver on its vision of bringing the world’s best entertainment to its audiences, the company said.

The funding round, which attracted significant interest from both new investors and existing shareholders, was led by Hearst, one of America’s largest diversified media, information and services companies, and also included additional new investors Singapore-based EDBI and clients of DBS private bank.

Existing shareholders Evolution Media, Sky PLC, Catcha Group, Liberty Global, Jungle Ventures and PLDT also increased their investments, a statement said.

Since going live in May 2015, iflix rapidly established a clear leadership position in emerging markets, setting a new standard for delivering a world-class streaming entertainment service, passionately focused on local customer experiences.

Over the last 12 months, the service has seen extraordinary growth across all segments of the business, expanding from four markets to 19 across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The company has additionally built deep integrated distribution partnerships with 27 leading telecommunications operators to bundle the iflix service with customers’ mobile and data subscriptions, all sponsored by the telecommunications provider, it said.

During the period, iflix also achieved tremendous growth across subscriber numbers and engagement by 3x and 2x respectively, and recorded some of the highest average active mobile viewing durations of any service in the world at 2.5-2.75 hours per session.

The company saw 230 percent growth in year on year revenue, and increased its commitment to localisation, producing 26,000 hours of subtitles in nine languages, with locally-curated content in every market, it said.

iflix’s full content library showcases thousands of award-winning and iconic first run programs and library content from over 230 studio partners from 30 countries.  

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 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.

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.

iflix was advised by Moelis & Company LLC, Delta Partners and Herbert Smith Freehills on the transaction. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Funding | video on demand | iflix |

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