Saturday, December 22, 2018

iflix dumps Africa, sells its last remaining share to Econet Group that will now run streaming video service Kwesé iflix alone.

The video streaming service iflix that has been struggling to get a foothold in Africa has finally dumped Africa to refocus on its Asia business, with the Malaysia-based business selling its last remaining share to the Econet Group that will now be running the former joint venture brand, Kwesé iflix, on its own.

Kwesé iflix operates in 8 African countries - Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia and Zimbabwe - with Econet planning to expand the service further.

iflix and Kwesé iflix provides regionalised access to live sport, entertainment, an assortment of local and international series and movies, and some first-to-market exclusive programming.

iflix entered sub-Saharan Africa in 2017, after it then decided to team up with Econet's Kwesé that has since run into financial problems of its own.

Econet's pay-TV division, Kwesé Media, acquired a stake in iflix in February 2018 to help create the Kwesé iflix brand that it will now operate on its own. The past few months iflix got cold feet and reduced its share until now completely getting out of Kwesé iflix.

In Africa Kwesé iflix competes with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, as well as Naspers' streaming service Showmax run by the MultiChoice Group, with the MultiChoice Group that will be spun off and list separately during the first half of 2019.

"It has been an incredible journey and learning experience, launching our service in Africa. The acquisition by the Econet Group, our regional partner and Africa's leading broadcast network, is a significant milestone for the African business, and further reinforces iflix's commitment to our core markets in Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines which continue to grow from strength to strength," says Mark Britt, iflix CEO and co-founder, in a statement.

Hardy Pemhiwa, CEO of Econet Global, says in the statement that "the conclusion of our acquisition of iflix Africa is a natural progression for our revised business strategy as a group, particularly the Kwesé business, which offers premium broadcasting services".

"With the immense growth and positive uptake of video-on-demand (VOD) and over-the-top (OTT) services across the continent, we believe connected services – particularly mobile – are the future of broadcasting in Africa."

Hardy Pemhiwa says Kwesé iflix's original programming portfolio of of homegrown content will hopefully expand as Kwesé iflix rolls out into more African countries.

"The recently launched Kwesé iflix original Nganya, of Kenyan origin, has already enjoyed immense success. We look forward to continuing this trajectory with the introduction of an impressive slate of original programming, with an exciting Tanzanian telenovela set to launch in February 2019".