Press Release: iflix secures additional $133m funding led by Hearst
iflix, the world’s leading Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) service for emerging markets, today announced it 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 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 Inc. also increased their investments.
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.
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 localization, producing 26,000 hours of subtitles in nine languages, with locally-curated content in every market. 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 recently unveiled its first exclusive original production, Oi Jaga Mulut, an audacious, uncensored, no holds barred stand-up comedy series, which since debuting in Malaysia last week, has skyrocketed to the leading show on the service. Partnering with TVOne, iflix also launched live premiere football streaming, available for the first time in Indonesia, which immediately became one of the highest performing shows there with more than 34,000 unique viewers tuning in the first week of airing. Last week, iflix Philippines announced its collaboration with the Philippines’ Queen of All Media, Kris Aquino, to commission an original drama series.
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.
President of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication Neeraj 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.
Evolution Media Founder and Co-Managing Partner Rick Hess said:
“As a founding partner of iflix, Evolution Media, along with Catcha Group and Mark, were inspired by the opportunity to reach the ‘next’ 1bn consumers. The phenomenal growth of iflix has challenged many of the preconceptions we have in Hollywood about how entertainment is consumed in emerging markets around the world. It’s fascinating to see iflix learn, scale and forge this new path.”
Catcha Group Co-founder and Group CEO Patrick Grove commented:
“Today marks the next step in our journey in creating a category defining company that revolutionizes the way people in emerging markets consume and enjoy content. Since launching in May 2015, iflix has consistently delivered an exceptionally high-value service with strong, unparalleled focus on customer experience.”
iflix was advised by Moelis & Company LLC, Delta Partners and Herbert Smith Freehills on the transaction.
(Distributed by APO on behalf of iflix)
iflix (www.iflix.com) is the world’s leading Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) service for emerging markets, offering users unlimited access to thousands of TV shows and movies from all over the world. With a huge selection of your favorite comedies, drama, Korean drama, Turkish drama, Bollywood, Nollywood, cartoons, movies and more from Hollywood, The UK, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. iflix places the entertainment you want at your fingertips. For one low monthly fee, iflix subscribers can watch on their mobile phone, laptop, tablet, TV… wherever, whenever.
iflix is currently available to consumers in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam, the Maldives, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan and Cambodia.
Hearst is one of the nation’s largest diversified media, information and services companies with more than 360 businesses. Its major interests include ownership in cable television networks such as A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime and ESPN; majority ownership of global ratings agency Fitch Group; Hearst Health, a group of medical information and services businesses; 30 television stations such as WCVB-TV in Boston and KCRA-TV in Sacramento, Calif., which reach a combined 19 percent of U.S. viewers; newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle and Albany Times Union, nearly 300 magazines around the world including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s BAZAAR and Car and Driver; digital services businesses such as iCrossing and KUBRA; and investments in emerging digital and video companies such as BuzzFeed, Vice, Complex Networks and AwesomenessTV. Follow us on Twitter @HearstLive (www.Twitter.com/hearstlive) and @Hearst (www.Twitter.com/hearst), and subscribe to Hearstlink (www.Hearst.com/?_hlink).
About Evolution Media:
Evolution Media (Evolution) is an investment company that partners with entertainment, lifestyle, media, sports, and technology companies. Leveraging relationships with its founding members— TPG Growth, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and Participant Media—Evolution is uniquely able to identify companies that will disrupt and shape these industries. Based in Los Angeles, with offices in New York and Beijing, Evolution operates at key global intersections of entertainment and technology. Its portfolio spans a range of geographies and industries, including virtual reality companies such as Jaunt and Wevr, gaming platforms such as Scopely, leading content providers such as iFlix, and iconic consumer brands.
About Catcha Group:
Catcha Group is Southeast Asia’s leading Internet group. The Group has made growth equity and venture capital investments in new media, online classifieds, and OTT businesses across the emerging world. Our portfolio companies have successfully completed four IPOs on the ASX and one IPO on Bursa Malaysia. The Group holds over 60 investments, either directly or indirectly, as sole, majority or minority shareholders.
The Group was established in 2004 and is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.