NEW YORK: Liberty Global is among the new investors that contributed to iflix’s latest funding round, with $90 million secured to accelerate the SVOD service’s expansion into the Middle East, Africa and new markets in Asia.
Liberty Global is joined by fellow investors Zain, a mobile and data services operator in the Middle East and Africa with whom iflix recently established the joint venture iflix Arabia, and a privately held investment management firm that invests in consumer businesses across Africa. Additional capital also came from existing shareholders Sky, Catcha Group and Los Angeles-based Evolution Media, an investment company that partners with entertainment, lifestyle, media, sports and technology businesses.
iflix’s co-founder and group CEO, Mark Britt, said: “We are incredibly excited with the demand we are seeing for iflix in the Middle East and Africa, as well as other new markets in Asia and worldwide. The new funds will enable us to seize this immense opportunity and continue to empower local consumers and provide them with the best content and services available, and the freedom to enjoy that offering whenever and wherever they want, wherever they are in the world.”
Britt added, “There are currently more than 2.5 billion people with smartphones in emerging markets who have a passion for cultural influences from around the globe and want access to the best entertainment content available easily and reliably. It is our aim to make iflix available to each and every one of them. Having exceptional partners, Liberty Global, Zain, Sky, Evolution Media and Catcha Group who share our vision, will be fundamental to our success as we expand our footprint in Asia and roll out the service in the Middle East and Africa.”
Sky’s group COO, Andrew Griffith, said: “iflix is a truly innovative partner. In the last year since Sky joined as a shareholder, we have seen the company surpass its milestones, including consolidating its leading market position in Southeast Asia and expanding its footprint into new regions. We are pleased to continue our support, as iflix moves on to the next stage of growth, making its world class service available to millions of consumers in MENA and Africa.”
Liberty Global’s chief programming officer, Bruce Mann, said: “Investing in an innovative emerging business like iflix enables us to gain an even greater insight into subscription video-on-demand services, as we continue to develop our own evolving video entertainment propositions for millions of our customers throughout Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Catcha Group’s co-founder and group CEO, Patrick Grove, commented: “When we founded iflix, we set out to create an entertainment revolution. In less than two years since launching our service, we have established the leading online entertainment brand in Asia, and are seeing exceptional demand for the service throughout MENA and Africa. With an estimated 880 million connected mobile devices in Africa and the Middle East by 2020, the opportunity in the regions is immense. At Catcha Group, we are thrilled to be a part of iflix’s exciting journey and to continue supporting the company in its quest to redefine entertainment for the more than one billion people in emerging markets around the world.”