iflix about to announce more telco pacts
By Lum Ka Kay November 25, 2015
- To announce more partnerships in Malaysia and Thailand soon
- Launches offline viewing feature to address connectivity issues
INTERNET TV service iflix will be announcing partnerships with local telcos in Malaysia and Thailand “very, very soon,” said iflix Group chief operating officer and iflix Malaysia chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani (pic above).
“Telcos are very excited to be a part of this, to bundle our video content together with their data plans – which will be a great way for people to consume more mobile data,” he said at the launch of iflix’s ‘Download and Watch Offline’ feature in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 24.
In September, the video-on-demand (VOD) startup struck a partnership with Digi.Com Bhd under which iflix subscribers can get direct billing for their subscriptions via integrated mobile carrier billing.
They also get 60-day complimentary access and an extra 1GB of Internet data quota to stream iflix content on Digi’s network at no extra charge.
Similarly, iflix also has an exclusive agreement with Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT) for its service to be provided to PLDT customers.
In August, it also sealed a bundling deal with Samsung in Malaysia and the Philippines, which would see its content-streaming service being pre-installed on select Samsung mobile devices.
Claiming over 850,000 subscribers since iflix’s official launch six months ago, Azran predicted the figure will double “at least” over the upcoming six months.
“The average amount of content consumption by each iflix subscriber has surpassed 100 minutes per day – it used to be 80 minutes per day,” he said.
iflix has also seen a shift in its subscribers’ consumption pattern – 60% of them are now streaming iflix on their mobile devices, with “many users connecting their mobile devices to their TVs via Chromecast,” he added.
Azran said iflix is also planning to invest in Malaysian and pan-Asian content production, starting with serial dramas.
“Our target audience will be the urban mass market, so we will be looking to produce content in Malay for Malaysia while for other regional markets, it will be in English,” he said.
In July, after having launched in its home market of Malaysia as well as in the Philippines, and on the cusp of a Thai rollout, iflix said it was targeting to launch in Indonesia next.
When asked about this, Azran said the expansion to Indonesia was “on track,” although he declined to give a specific timeframe.
READ ALSO: Thailand’s Next Step to use Intelsat technology for its satellite TV offering
Meanwhile, the newly-launched ‘Download and Watch Offline’ feature enables iflix subscribers to download and enjoy content offline on mobile devices, regardless of where they are, and whether they have an Internet connection or not.
“iflix has been created to address the demands and challenges faced by consumers in emerging markets, including inconsistent infrastructure, expensive and limited mobile data allowances,” said Azran.
“In these markets, although iflix works great with 3G/4G (Third/ Fourth Generation) signals, their availability isn’t consistent and people are very conscious about spending their mobile data.
“The launch of Download and Watch Offline feature is a testament to our commitment to providing the best service and experience possible to our subscribers,” he added.
The feature can be enabled on the existing iflix app available on the Android and iOS platforms.
It has not been enabled for desktop users because iflix has to adhere to the demands of studios to ensure the content it streams is not compromised, according to iflix Group chief technology officer Ash Crick.
“The browser environment is inherently less secure than an app environment, so we released the feature on the mobile app first, where we can secure the content relatively easily,” he said.
However, having said that, Crick (pic) said iflix might roll out the offline viewing feature for desktops in 2016.
Meanwhile, iflix said it had conducted a survey whose respondents comprised people who had not heard of iflix, as well as its trial users and annual subscribers.
While details of the survey – the demographics and number of respondents – were not made available to the media, the company said that 40% of respondents said they would not watch iflix if they do not have a WiFi connection.
Also, 60% were not watching or streaming content using their mobile data plans, citing concerns such as exceeding their quota (36%), cost (28%), buffering speed (23%), and poor quality (13%).
“With this (offline feature), 65% of users are more likely to pay for iflix,” said Azran.
Meanwhile, Azran said iflix is trying to move away from using people to curate content for its subscribers.
“Using big data analytics, [we] will track subscribers’ preferences and from there, recommend shows and films that they might be interested in.
“So the more you watch iflix, the smarter your computer gets,” he quipped.
iflix is available for RM8 per month with unlimited access for up to five devices. New subscribers will be offered a complimentary 30-day trial with no payment details required. [RM1 = US$0.23 at current rates]
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