Malaysia-based streaming service iflix has been launched in Ghana.
The OTT platform, which has both free and subscription offerings, first launched in Malaysia and the Philippines in 2015. It has gone on to launch in multiple countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, with Ghana becoming the latest to offer the service.
Abner Briandt, iflix’s country manager for Ghana, said: “iflix is proud to announce that it is now live in Ghana to offer Ghanaians premium-class entertainment on the go.
“The advantage of iflix is that it is the most diversified SVoD content portfolio in Africa, with a healthy mix of Hollywood, Nollywood and Ghallywood movies and TV shows, as well as a dedicated kids’ section. Iflix will revolutionise the way Ghanaians consume entertainment.”
Iflix’s content line-up has been acquired via collaborations with more than 150 content distributors and studios globally, including Disney, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount, Warner Bros, NBCUniversal, the BBC, CBS, Fox, Sony Pictures and Discovery.
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.
“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.”
Nigerian content market C3 Africa Network held its third creative content conference at the Genesis Deluxe Cinema in Lekki, Lagos yesterday.
In attendance were industry leaders and Nigerian and international filmmakers. Various panel sessions highlighted key issues and debated how African content can be improved and distributed globally.
The first panel session was entitled Exporting African Culture and involved Ope Ajayi, VP of Genesis Cinema; Ghanaian animator Francis Brown; UK-based professor of film Florence Ayisi; and South African filmmaker Dumi Gumbi.
The panellists agreed there has to be more divergence of content in Africa, other than the usual comedy shows. “Make films that can have a global appeal and are in our indigenous languages in order to preserve our culture,” Ajayi urged.
The second session looked at the distribution of content and the panellists were Damola Layonu, operations support manager at Film One Distribution; Ngozi Aderibigbe from law firm Jackson, Etti & Edu; and Tunde Onakoya from Iflix. Creating content that can sell outside the country of origin was the biggest concern during the session.
The third session discussed the impact of the digital revolution and included Olatubosun Alake, general manager of My-Film House; Dennis Igwebuike, director for YouTube channel Aforevo; Dami Dawson, content director at LITV; and Ngozi Okoli from Iroko Partners.
This debate addressed VoD platforms and what particular features they look out for when it comes to content.
The final session looked at funding and coproduction in Nollywood. Moderating was Amaka Nwosu and the panel members were Cynthia Nwuka, creative director at BOI and Simphiwe Ngcobo from Kwazul Natal Commissions.
Ngcobo said that for producers to have creative content, they must have collaborative partnerships. “Producers should produce for the global market and not for local consumption alone,” added Nwuka.
The C3 Africa Network was founded by MD Somto Ajuluchukwu. For Content Nigeria’s in-depth interview with him, click here.
Video streaming service iflix will launch a news channel next month.
From September 3, iflix will air a 24-hour news channel on its platform, which will focus on broadcasting worldwide news stories from various reliable sources.
The SVoD company has partnered with other news channels in order to deliver this content. These channels include CNN, Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, CGTN and CCTV 4.
Speaking about the channel, iflix CEO Mark Britt said: “Audiences today, particularly the rapidly growing youth segments, want immediate access to the stories and events that are shaping the world around them.
“Through iflix news, we are working with many of world’s most trusted and reputable news sources, to deliver timely, comprehensive stories and current affairs to customers with an exceptional user experience, completely on their own terms.”
Presently, iflix operates in more than 20 countries and is in partnership with about 220 studios and distributors internationally. In 2017, it launched in Nigeria, three years after it began operations in Malaysia.
Econet Media-owned African pay TV company Kwesé TV has established a strategic partnership with Nigerian mobile telephone operator 9mobile.
Kwesé has signed a distribution agreement with the telecommunications company ensuring that its customers can purchase Kwesé decoder kits and services at 9mobile stores.
Meanwhile, 9mobile subscribers will get exclusive data bundles to access Kwesé iflix, the VoD joint-venture it formed with Asia-based service iflix.
General manager of Kwesé TV Nigeria Elizabeth Amkpa said of the 9mobile pact: “This partnership extends our distribution network and makes our products accessible to even more Nigerian consumers.
“We are currently operating in select 9mobile Experience Centres in Lagos and we will soon be available in other major cities across the country in partnership with 9mobile.”
Currently, there are six participating 9mobile stores, all of which are situated in Lagos. Locations include The Palms Shopping Mall, Ikeja City Mall, Adeola Odeku Street on Victoria Island, Mushin, Surulere and Festac Town.
Adebisi Idowu, 9mobile’s VP of marketing, also commented: “9mobile is determined to continue meeting the passion point of Nigerians, especially customers on the network, and Kwesé TV offers yet another major platform to do so.”
Kwesé TV has over 70 channels that offer varied entertainment, from lifestyle to news. Since its launch in Nigeria in 2017, it is fast becoming one of the leading pay TV platforms in the country.
The number of SVoD customers in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) will increase from 1.56 million at the end of 2017 to nearly 10 million in 2023, according to a report from UK-based Digital TV Research.
Titled Sub-Saharan Africa OTT TV & Video Forecasts, the report estimates that across the 35 countries in SSA, there will be 9.99 million SVoD customers five years from now.
South Africa will account for 3.37 million of these and Nigeria will have 2.61 million, the report claims. The two countries are tipped to account for 60% of SSA’s SVoD customers by 2023 – down from 74% in 2017, suggesting the rest of the region is growing faster than the two main countries.
However, the report also predicts SVoD revenues will not increase massively due to the fact some of the new platforms driving subscriber growth are very cheap. SVoD revenue across SSA in 2023 is estimated to be at US$775m.
The recently launched Kwesé Play is tipped to hit 333,000 subscribers in 2023. Meanwhile, iRoko TV is expected to see its customer count rise from 308,000 to 1.54 million over the same period, while iflix is predicted to grow from 17,000 to 741,000 subscribers. DStv Showmax numbers will increase from 334,000 to 1.73 million, the report claims.
SSA’s six most popular platforms – Showmax, iRoko, Kwesé Play, iflix, Amazon and Netflix – accounted for 90% of the region’s SVoD subscribers by the end of 2017, with this proportion predicted to be retained across the next five. Despite being relatively expensive, Netflix is still expected to account for 40% of the 2023 total, with an estimated 4.03 million subscribers.
Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “Market dynamics have shifted over the last year. There have been fewer platform launches, especially on a country level. We believe iRoko will concentrate mostly on West Africa.
“A significant stake in iflix was sold to Econet, which we believe will mean more focus on Eastern and Southern Africa. MultiChoice announced that Showmax will be given free to premium DStv subscribers across Africa, with Compact subscribers offered Showmax for half price.”
Digital TV Research is a London-based research and analytical company. It publishes more than 20 reports, covering over 130 countries, annually.
Kwesé iflix has partnered with two telcos to make the new African streaming service available to more customers.
Days after its launch, Kwesé iflix – which is offering coverage on the ongoing FIFA World Cup – has struck strategic partnerships with MTN and 9mobile, giving their subscribers access to the fledgling platform.
Adeolu Cairo, 9mobile’s director of consumer segment, said: “As an innovative and customer-centric telecom operator, 9mobile is always on the look-out for ground-breaking ways to enrich the lives of our teeming customers and Nigerians as a whole.
“Therefore, we are excited at the ample opportunity this collaboration with Kwesé iflix affords us to increase our investment in bolstering the growth of football and the bourgeoning Nigerian entertainment industry in a way never seen before.”
9mobile customers will be offered premium VIP Kwesé iflix content for three hours at N500 (US$1.38). Customers also have an option of subscribing to Kwesé iflix for N500 for three hours (valid for three days), N1000 for seven hours (seven days) and N2500 for 15 hours (30 days).
Richard Iweanoge, general manager of brands and communication at MTN Nigeria, said: “We are excited to be working with Nigeria’s emergent digital entertainment provider to offer premium TV and video content to our consumers.
“Some of the extraordinary content on offer includes live coverage of the World Cup tournament in Russia, blockbuster movies and much more.
“This is part of our effort to continue to deliver innovative services to Nigerians through our wide distribution network across the country – in consonance with the MTN vision to lead the delivery of a bold, new, digital world.”
MTN will offer its subscribers 24-hour access to the Kwesé iflix app at the rate of N250. Customers can access data bundles on MTN to choose between one-day, three-day, seven-day or 30-day VIP passes.
Kwesé iflix initially launched in partnership with Bharti Airtel, another of Nigeria’s leading telcos.
Airtel offers its subscribers unlimited streaming of all Kwesé iflix premium VIP content for N300 per 24 hours. It also offers one-, three-, seven- and 30-day VIP passes.
Kwesé iflix is a joint venture between between Econet and and iflix. One of its main attractions is its freemium tier, which allows users to access a range of programmes for free.
Fox Networks Group (FNG) in Europe and Africa has hired an exec from Malaysian SVoD service iflix and upped one of its senior managers in a shake-up of its African business.
Evert van der Veer, formerly head of content in Africa and the Middle East at iflix, has been appointed general manager of FNG Africa.
At iflix, van der Veer oversaw content operations, acquisition and marketing and developed local productions as part of the streamer’s long-term strategy. Before that, he held numerous positions at Viacom International Media Networks Africa, including VP for Comedy Central.
Van der Veer’s hire follows the exit of Gary Alfonso, who was previously FNG general manager in Africa but left in March.
Additionally, Vasilis Iliopoulos, general manager of FNG Greece, has been promoted to senior VP for FNG Africa. Iliopoulos will look to expand Fox Sports and local content productions, and will develop
National Geographic Partners across key markets in East, West and Southern Africa. He will retain his duties at FNG Greece alongside his Africa responsibilities.
The appointments follow a series of changes to FNG’s global businesses in the past year. Most recently, Jacqui Feeney, MD of FNG Australia, stepped down after five years to be replaced by Tim Jones.
In February, the US business upped Jeff Hughes to lead its digital consumer group, replacing Brian Sullivan, who was made FNG’s overall president and chief operating officer late last year.
Malaysian SVoD service iflix has appointed a global head of partnerships as it begins to build up its position following investment from pan-African entertainment company Kwesé.
Luis Duran is a telecoms expert and former exec at Portuguese multinational TIMWE Group. He is sxpected to draw on his global leadership and business development experience in the telecoms, technology and fast-moving consumer goods sectors to expand iflix’s reach.
He was previously head of telco TIMWE’s EMEA business and also served as an advisor to telcos in the Middle East and Africa at advisory and investment firm Delta Partners.
Econet Media-backed Kwesé, which already had a distribution deal with iflix in Africa, acquired a “significant stake” in iflix’s African operation, with the SVoD firm becoming the “core” mobile offering for the pay TV operator, providing local African series and international programming to viewers.
Additionally, iflix has boosted its Asian content output through the launch of documentary series Coconuts TV in association with Coconuts Media.
Econet Media-backed pan-African entertainment company Kwesé has acquired an undisclosed stake in SVoD service iflix, based in Malaysia.
Kwesé, which already had a distribution deal with iflix in Africa, has acquired what is being described as a “significant stake” in iflix’s African operation. Further details have not been revealed.
Iflix will now become the “core” mobile offering for the pay TV operator, providing local African series and international programming to viewers.
Kwese said the deal would allow it to offer “an exceptional mobile offering for consumers on the continent.”
Strive Masiyiwa, Econet Group’s founder and executive chairman, said: “We are thrilled to deepen our operating partnership with iflix to lead the transformation of media in Africa.
“Our companies share a mutual passion for innovation, along with a deep understanding of the culture and evolution of digital businesses. Mobility in content consumption has grown exponentially in Africa and by partnering with iflix Africa we are ensuring that we are not only taking part in the evolution, but are leading the movement.”
Mark Britt, iflix Group’s co-founder and CEO, described the deal as “a huge milestone” for his company.
“Following the initial phase of building our business in Africa, we have seen tremendous growth across our operating markets, far exceeding our expectations. Econet’s deep experience and success in media and telecoms will be a huge advantage and enable us to continue to grow rapidly.”
Kwesé is present in 13 countries while iflix claims to be available to more than one billion consumers in 24 territories throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Last year, iflix secured a US$133m funding round with investors including US media giant Hearst. Existing shareholders such as US cable giant Liberty Global and European pay TV operator Sky were also part and have increased their investments in Netflix’s rival.
Last year’s round took the total funding raised by iflix in 2017 to more than US$220m. The firm launched in May 2015.
The company has also been agreeing distribution partnerships with telecommunications operators to bundle the iflix service with customers’ mobile and data subscriptions.
Pay TV service Kwesé TV has unveiled a mobile service in partnership with iflix, including live coverage of the World Cup.
Kwesé iflix offers all-round video entertainment and access to numerous programmes and premium content, as well as live 2018 Fifa World Cup matches.
Mayur Patel, Kwesé iflix’s CEO, said the service is aimed at the mobile generation who prefer to watch TV on the go and want unlimited access to content.
Kwesé iflix can be downloaded for free from the Google and Apple app stores. In-app subscription options are available to customers, including one-, three-, seven- and 30-day VIP passes.
Iflix launched in Nigeria last August, three years after it began operations in Malaysia.
It partners with more than 220 studios and distributors, which allows it to offer a wide range of movies and TV drama series, locally and globally.
Kwesé is fast becoming one the leading pay TV network in Nigeria. It is also one of the three TV platforms in the country to have exclusive rights to air the World Cup. The others are SuperSports (on DSTV and GOtv) and StarTimes.
Networks across Africa have secured more than 300 hours of programming from BBC Studios, including the first deal of its kind with OTT service DSTV Now.
The service, from South African pay TV operator MultiChoice, has acquired a package from BBC Studios that includes an array of music and arts programming, ranging from Art of Scandinavia, Shakespeare Uncovered and Il Divo: A Musical Affair: Live in Japan.
Meanwhile, South African pubcaster SABC has added more than 80 hours of programming across natural history, factual and children’s. Shows include Blue Planet II and Planet Earth II, season 24 of Top Gear and preschool series Go Jetters.
The deal will see all shows premiering for the first time in the territory on free-to-air television.
Elsewhere, SVoD service iflix has concluded a second package deal for sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa), with S1-5 of Citizen Khan, S1-8 of Hustle and Undercover all included. Iflix has also added drama duo The Aliens and The Refugees.
African subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) platform iflix has announced it will be the exclusive online home for UK drama Britannia.
The historical drama is set it 43AD as Britain’s tribes and Druid mystics face an invading Roman army and have their lives changed forever. It is produced by Vertigo Films in association with Neal Street Productions for Sky in the UK.
Iflix will bring the show to 25 countries in Africa, including Nigeria. It is also carried by North African and Middle Eastern SVoD service Starz Play, and is distributed by London-based Sky Vision.
Evert van der Veer, iflix’s head of content in Africa and the Middle East, said: “The addition of Britannia is a testament to iflix’s commitment to showcase the very best international content to subscribers across the region.
“We are excited to partner with Sky to bringing our customers this year’s most anticipated new series before any other entertainment platform in the region.”
Iflix launched in Nigeria in August 2017, three years after it began operations in Malaysia. The company partners with more than 220 studios and distributors and carries a range of movies and TV series both locally and globally.