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Asian Netflix rival raises $30m

A new Southeast Asian SVOD service has raised US$30 million as it rolls out across the region.

Mark Brittiflix, which claims to offer thousands of hours of entertainment content, secured the funding in a round led by international investment firm Catcha Group – which co-founded the initiative with Evolution Media Capital – and leading Philippines telecoms group Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT).

The funds will be used for marketing, to roll out the Kuala Lumpur-based on-demand platform, acquire new programming and produce original programming.

The service already offers shows such as Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution’s Glee and Family Guy, Warner Bros. International Television Distribution’s Green Lantern and The Big Bang Theory and Zodiak Kids’ Yo Gabba Gabba!, along with Hollywood movies and Asian content.

No further details on the original shows were forthcoming today, but SVOD platforms are increasingly looking to originals to drum up new customers. Yesterday Nippon TV commissioned a local version of Red Arrow International crime drama The Last Cop as SVOD service Hulu Japan’s first original.

iflix’s entry into the Asian market comes ahead of the expected launch of SVOD global market leader Netflix in the continent. Netflix is already in Japan, but has not yet moved elsewhere.

“The new funds will allow us to execute on our plan to deliver thousands of hours of entertainment for a low monthly price,” said iflix chairman Patrick Grove, an Australian internet entrepreneur who’s also co-founder of Catcha.

Grove added there was a “seismic shift taking place in the global entertainment landscape”, and that iflix was “perfectly positioned to capitalise on this incredible opportunity”.

“We are very bullish about the prospects of the iflix service, which has been designed to address the preferences and demands of the rapidly expanding Asian market,” said PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.

“PLDT looks forward to working with iflix to grow its business an introduce new media services that will fuel further the demand for broadband and mobile access in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia.”

The raise also comes days after iflix hired AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani to become CEO of iflix Malaysia and COO of the wider group. Former Nine Entertainment Company digital chief Mark Britt (pictured) is iflix CEO, as TBI reported last August.

Catcha and Evolution partnered to create the platform in March as a means of tapping into the growing local on-demand market and combat piracy that remains rife in the region.

The platform is launching in Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam this year.