Hearst is out in front of a recent $133 million funding round for SVOD service iflix that is fending off the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in emerging markets.
Along with Hearst, Singapore-based EDBI and clients of DBS private bank are new investors in iflix, and are joined by existing investors Evolution Media, Sky PLC, Catcha Group, Liberty Global, Jungle Ventures and PLDT Inc.
With this round of funding, iflix has now raised $220 million this year. The company intends to use its newest investments to continue with its local content strategy that includes its first exclusive original production, "Oi! Jaga Mulut," which debuted in Malaysia last week. Iflix has also partnered with TVOne to offer live premiere football streaming in Indonesia, and with Queen of All Media to launch an original drama series in the Philippines.
“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,” said President of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication Neeraj Khemlani in a statement.
Iflix went live in 2015 and 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 owns 30 television stations such as WCVB-TV in Boston and KCRA-TV in Sacramento, Calif., as well as stakes in cable networks including A&E, History, Lifetime and ESPN.