Former iProperty CEO George Chmiel, who is now the CFO and director of global movie streaming service iflix, says there are similarities in the way the video-on-demand service and the online classifieds sector disrupted their respective industries.
Iflix, the leading subscription video-on-demand service for emerging markets, today announced it has completed a US$133m funding round. Since going live in May 2015, iflix rapidly established a clear leadership position in emerging markets, setting a new standard for delivering a world-class streaming entertainment service, passionately focused on local customer experiences.
Chmiel joined iflix as its CFO and director at its KL headquarters this year and, before that, led iProperty to expand its operations to include more than 460 employees across Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore, with investments in the Philippines. Prior to iProperty, Chmiel held several senior executive positions with both publicly listed and private leading media companies, among those CEO and MD at LJ Hooker Group and CFO at REA Group Ltd (ASX:REA).
The new round of funding brings the amount raised by iflix this calendar year to an excess of US$220 million with proceeds from the round being used to invest in its local content strategy.
Chmiel says iflix has experienced overwhelming success because it has capitalised on making movies accessible. He says its effect on the market is not dissimilar to the way online classifieds disrupted the print industry.
"It is all about disruption - disruption as in making things easier for buyers, sellers or viewers," Chmiel told PPW.
"Online classifieds have been and are disrupting the realestate, cars and jobs industry by aggregating data which historically was spread across multiple print publications and other sources in one spot, and by creating more efficient processes in a historically manual industry.
"flix is disrupting the (linear) TV and payTV industry by giving people access to entertainment where they want (any device), whenever they want (streaming video on demand) at an affordable price tailored to emerging markets of Asia, Africa and the Middle East," he concluded.
The funding round, which attracted significant interest from both new investors and existing shareholders, was led by Hearst, one of America’s largest diversified media, information and services companies, and also included additional new investors Singapore-based EDBI and clients of DBS private bank. Existing shareholders Evolution Media, Sky PLC, Catcha Group, Liberty Global, Jungle Ventures and PLDT Inc. also increased their investments.
Since going live in2015, iflix has rapidly established a clear leadership position in emerging markets, passionately focusing on local customer experiences. Over the last 12 months, the service has experienced growth across all segments of the business, expanding from four markets to 19 across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.