- iflix gearing up for emerging markets outside of Asia
- Local content the key to Indonesia, all rival services agree
AFTER having blocked US video-streaming service Netflix in late January – saying it was protecting Indonesian consumers from unregulated content – PT Telkom Indonesia (Telkom) has now entered into a partnership with rival Malaysian service iflix.
The iflix video-on-demand (VOD) service will be made available via Telkom’s IndiHome broadband fibre service.
The collaboration would give 1.5 million IndiHome subscribers access to 20,000 hours of iflix content covering Japanese, Korean and Turkish dramas, Hollywood box office hits and US TV series, as well as Indonesian movies and TV series.
Indonesia makes market No 4 for iflix, a venture of Kuala Lumpur-based Catcha Group, which is already available in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.
The company aims to expand into Sri Lanka and Vietnam, as well as emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa, by the end 2016, according to iflix cofounder and group chief executive officer Mark Britt.
It is positioning itself as a VOD provider for emerging markets with a local approach, which is why “we will collaborate with local content providers,” he told the media in Jakarta on April 19, at the official launch of iflix in Indonesia.
One such local provider is media giant Elang Mahkota Teknologi or Emtek Group, which through its subsidiary Surya Citra Media took a stake in iflix in March.
The foreign shows on iflix will come with Bahasa Indonesia subtitles, Britt said, adding that foreign content makes up 60% of iflix offerings.
Malaysia and Indonesia have tight censorship rules – both operate on a nanny-state model, critics argue.
But newly-appointed iflix Indonesia chief executive officer Cam Walker was convinced that content that passed Malaysia’s strict censorship requirements – where even Back to the Future is snipped on local TV stations – would be suitable for Indonesians as well.
“We will make sure that all content complies with Indonesia’s censorship rules, but those who are still in doubt can use our parental control feature to filter content themselves,” he said.
iflix offers a multi-screen experience – users can access shows from five different devices. To offset the poor connectivity issue that crops regularly in Indonesia, they would also be allowed to download up to 10 titles on each device to watch offline.
“As long as users are on an IndiHome network or our wiFi.id public wireless access service, they can watch any movie or series – whenever and wherever,” said Telkom consumer services director Dian Rachmawan.
From June onwards, Telkom will open up pre-registration to IndiHome subscribers who want to try out iflix. Those who register will get six to 18 months’ free access, depending on their package.
“After the free period, they will have to pay a minimum of Rp39,500 (US$3.03 ) to keep enjoying iflix,” said Dian.
Competition heating up
The iflix launch in Indonesia comes less than a week after Singapore’s Hooq announced a pact with Tribe, while telco XL Axiata hooked up with Netflix earlier this year.
Hooq is also serious about local content, claiming it has more than 1,000 local movies and 6,000 local series.
“We are already collaborating with four local house production – 13 Entertainment, MNC Media, Multivision Plus, and TransMedia,” Hooq Indonesia country head Guntur S. Siboro (pic) said last week in Jakarta.
Meanwhile, XL Axiata chief executive officer Dian Siswarini said that besides local content, Indonesians are also “crazy” about Korean shows, which is why it convinced its parent company, Kuala Lumpur-headquartered Axiata, to bring its collaboration with Tribe to Indonesia.
“We agree that local content is the key, but we can’t deny the trend and so will also be providing Asian content and live sports via Fox Sports,” she told the media in Jakarta last month.
Here is a comparison of the various services (click to enlarge):
Hooq and iflix gird themselves for Netflix invasion
Indonesia’s Telkom blocks Netflix, industry calls for revision
Now Rupert Murdoch’s Sky gets into the iflix action
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