Malaysia-based digital entertainment platform iflix has sold its African service, Kwesé iflix, to telecoms company Econet Global.
Econet’s purchase of the service, which it helped iflix form and in which it already held a “significant stake,” follows the company’s decision to transition its Kwesé TV direct-to-home service to a digitally focused business.
Iflix first entered Africa in the sub-Saharan region in 2017, before teaming up with Econet in February this year to expand the platform to East and Southern Africa, rebranded as Kwesé iflix. The move saw Econet acquire a stake in the service, which provides viewers across the region access to live sport, entertainment and local and international series and movies, including first-to-market exclusive programming.
In May, Kwesé iflix was extended into to Zimbabwe ahead of the summer’s FIFA World Cup.
“The conclusion of our acquisition of iflix Africa is a natural progression for our revised business strategy as a group, particularly the Kwesé business, which offers premium broadcasting services,” said Hardy Pemhiwa, CEO of Econet Global.
“With the immense growth and positive uptake of VoD and OTT services across the continent, we believe connected services – particularly mobile – are the future of broadcasting in Africa.”
Pemhiwa said he was hoping to grow Kwesé iflix’s original programming portfolio of “homegrown content” as the service continues to expand across the continent.
“The recently launched Kwesé iflix original Nganya, of Kenyan origin, has already enjoyed immense success. We look forward to continuing this trajectory with the introduction of an impressive slate of original programming, with an exciting Tanzanian telenovela set to launch in February 2019,” he added.
Iflix co-founder and CEO Mark Britt said: “The acquisition by the Econet Group, our regional partner, 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 go from strength to strength.”