iflix, the leading streaming entertainment service in emerging markets, has been continuing to expand in Asia and upping its competitive edge with price and payment and bundling options and production of original local content. In August, iflix announced an upcoming online-only full-length feature movie with Kris Aquino, the Philippines’ “Queen of All Media’. Very recently, the service also launched the comedy series “Hoy! Bibig Mo”, its first original production in the Philippines.
“(The full-feature film with Kris Aquino) will push all sorts of boundaries,” said iflix co-founder and CEO Mark Britt to adobo magazine during the Asia TV Forum & Market Leaders’ Summit at the Singapore Media Festival held in Marina Bay Sands.
iflix co-founder and CEO Mark Britt (second from left) sits at "The Evolution of Storytelling" panel at the Asian TV Forum & Market
“This is the first time that Kris has returned to one of the older formats (film) but with a digital audience,” Britt said. Kris will not only be a talent in the movie, but will also be a key advisor for iflix in developing independent original content and collaborations with Filipino producers and studios.
Asked about the decision to partner with a local celebrity, Britt said, “we just want to be deeply relevant, and she occupies such a unique place in Philippine tradition and heritage. The idea of creating the first digital OTT format with her was an opportunity too good to pass up.”
On the other hand, “Hoy! Bibig Mo” is a first for iflix in producing original content in the Philippines. The series hosted by comedy and internet star Ramon Bautista features the best comedians in the country in a no-holds barred showdown. The show is actually a localisation of the “Oi! Jaga Mulut” program in Malaysia, which also showed tremendous success on the concept.
iflix looks to further its programming strategy with more hyperlocal, high-impact content relevant to its markets.
Since its founding just two years ago in 2015, iflix has grown exponentially in Asia, with the Philippines as one of its biggest markets. “(The Philippines) is our favourite market,” Britt shared. “It has a passion for content, a passion for celebrity. It’s an early adopter, a mobile-first market of people who love content. It has one of the most vibrant content consumption communities of any country in Southeast Asia,” he added.
With increasing improvements in mobile and broadband infrastructure, the Philippine market is poised to take in and consume more content, especially on video. “We found it to be a very welcoming market of people who will jump on OTT (over-the-top) services very quickly,” Britt said.
iflix is still in its expansion and investment stages and continues to set up shop in more emerging markets. “We’re now in 27 countries. If there’s a market in Asia, we’re there — all the way from Indonesia to Pakistan, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore. We’re in Kuwait, Bahrain. We have 250,000 subscribers in Iraq, and we launched in Nigeria last week,” Britt revealed.
He did admit to seeing returns in investment in three to five more years, yet with more and more people moving to digital and mobile platforms to consume content, iflix is poised to take advantage of the changes. “It’s a generational shift. Our children will never ever watch linear television full stop. My kids do not know what a channel is and they’re never going to. And they’re all gonna be on a mobile device,” Britt stressed.
“Customers will assemble their own collection of channels and services. We have Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and iflix today. But we have unique content and the price is low enough so everybody can access content on our platform,” he said.