Malaysia’s iflix exits African business, to focus on core Asian markets
Malaysia-headquartered on-demand video streaming startup iflix has confirmed today the sale of its African business, Kwese iflix, to Econet Global Ltd, a diversified telecommunications group, as the online streamer is looking to focus on core markets in Asia.
iflix, which claims to be the leading entertainment service provider for emerging markets, did not disclose financial details of the transaction but said the deal followed Econet’s acquisition of a significant stake in the business, formerly named iflix Africa.
iflix Africa was launched in June 2017. It was rebranded as Kwese iflix following the partnership between iflix and Kwese, Econet’s Pan-African media company, a year later. The business expanded into East and Southern Africa to become the largest digital aggregator of Free-to-Air channels in the region, iflix said.
“It has been an incredible journey and learning experience, launching our service in Africa. The acquisition by the Econet Group, our regional partner and Africa’s leading broadcast network, is a significant milestone for the African business, and further reinforces iflix’s commitment to our core markets in Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, which continue to grow from strength to strength,” said iflix co-founder and CEO Mark Britt.
Aside from the core markets in Asia, iflix is also available in Thailand, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam, the Maldives, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Cambodia, Nigeria, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Morocco.
Econet Global Limited CEO Hardy Pemhiwa said the completion of the transaction followed his company’s decision to deemphasise its Kwese TV direct-to-home service in order to refocus the business towards a digital future.
“The conclusion of our acquisition of iflix Africa is a natural progression for our revised business strategy as a group, particularly the Kwese business, which offers premium broadcasting services… we believe connected services – particularly mobile – is the future of broadcasting in Africa,” Pemhiwa said.
The iflix platform has reached 15 million subscribers base as of this year, where 2.2 billion minutes streamed monthly on its platform since January 2018. In April this year, iflix shut down its digital team in Singapore and moved the function back to its home market, Malaysia, to centralise its marketing operations, according to a report.
Since its inception in 2014, iflix has raised US$298 million from 5 funding rounds, with the latest round, with an undisclosed amount, taking place last February. According to a DEALSTREETASIA report in July, the company is looking to raise at least two more financing rounds before considering going public.