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.