Sky invests $45m in a major Netflix rival iflix

2016-03-11

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Sky has invested $45 million (£31.6m) in southeast Asian TV streaming service iflix.

The Netflix rival, which is available in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines launched in May 2015 and has just over a million subscribers. Sky’s investment includes the purchase of $2.5m in shares.

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iflix has rights deals with the likes of MGM, Disney, Warner Bros, Paramount, Fox and the BBC, as well as several Asian distributors. In April 2015, iflix raised $30m in Series A funding led by one of the largest telecoms companies in the Philippines.

The investment is Sky’s first in Asia and is surprising for a company that only currently operates in Austria, Ireland, Italy, Germany and the UK. Andrew Griffith, Sky’s chief financial officer said the deal would allow the two companies to “work together and share expertise”.

In a statement Sky said its investment in iflix would allow the companies to identify “areas of future collaboration” in the high-growth southeast Asian market.

Like Netflix, iflix charges a monthly subscription for access to TV and movies on mobile, laptop, tablet and through smart TVs. Shows available include The Flash from Warner Bros, BBC hit drama Sherlock and Devious Maids from ABC Studios.

The streaming service previously had southeast Asia to itself, but now competes directly with Netflix after its expansion into 130 new countries and territories in early January.

Unlike Netflix, which primarily offers English-language films and TV shows, some local content is available on iflix. The service is also cheaper than its American rival; subscriptions in Malaysia start at RM8 (£1.35) per month, compared to Netflix’s lowest fee of RM31 (£5.30).

Sky already has its own streaming services in Europe. Now TV was launched in July 2013 as an alternative to Sky’s satellite TV service, offering packages for movies, sports and entertainment.

It also operates Sky Online and Sky Go, both of which provide live and on-demand content to subscribers. The broadcaster also recently launched Sky Q, its next-generation TV service.

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