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Technology

Kwese acquires stake in Malaysia-based iflix

From left, singer Wahu, Iflix content manager Linda Githige, Kenya country manager Paul Coogan and marketing manager East Africa Bernice Macharia during the launch of Iflix in the Kenya market last year. PHOTO | FILE
From left, singer Wahu, Iflix content manager Linda Githige, Kenya country manager Paul Coogan and marketing manager East Africa Bernice Macharia during the launch of Iflix in the Kenya market last year. PHOTO | FILE 

Pay TV company Kwese has acquired a stake in Malaysia-based subscription video on demand (SVoD) firm iflix.

The partnership between the two firms adds to the selection of online programming available, meaning subscribers will have diversified content on the platforms.

Kwese did not clarify what percentage of iflix's stake it had bought as at the time this story was published.

“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.” said Econet Group founder and executive chairman, Strive Masiyiwa, in a statement Wednesday.

Kwese is part of the Econet Group, which also owns internet service provider Liquid Telecom.

Iflix, which offers on demand streaming services not unlike US giant Netflix, focuses on penetrating emerging markets.

The model of pay TV and SVoD partnership has been used by Naspers under DSTv premium and Showmax services, where viewers on premium bouquets of the former have access to the sVoD service as part of the package.

“The operating partnership will see iflix drive Kwese’s go-to-market mobile delivery in each of its territories,” read the statement from the two companies.

New entrant

Kwese TV, a relatively new entrant into Kenya's pay television market, recently added three-day subscriptions in pay-as-you-watch packages looking to keep viewers glued in the highly competitive local market.

The firm came into the market in 2016 with a focus on sport before expanding the channels to include entertainment and current affairs.

This sparked a content war with Multichoice which increased channel offering in some of its services while lowering cost on others.

Expansion

The scramble for eyeballs has seen a shakeup as more entrants on the SVoD front including Netflix and Amazon stepped into the market.

Iflix last year raised funding in excess of $220 million (Sh22.85 billion), which was invested in its expansion locally.

“The strengthening of our relationship with Econet Group is a huge milestone for iflix. 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,” said iflix Group co-founder and CEO Mark Britt.

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