Mark Britt is an Australian entrepreneur on a quest to beat Netflix to the Asian video on demand (VOD) market. His company, iflix, is based in Malaysia and quickly becoming the go-to VOD service in South Asia and the Asia-Pacific region.
According to Britt, having a local approach is the key to success for iflix. Unlike Netflix, iflix is not bringing Hollywood to the world but is focused on bringing locally produced world-class content to the market. Working with local producers in Malaysia, iflix has raised $100 million in investments through several rounds of funding.
The question that is put forward to Britt most times is “how is he going to compete against the giant that is Netflix” — to which he says there is no competition.
“Almost every assumption about subscription video on demand that is based on Western metaphors has failed in developing markets. If we are beating our competitors, it is because we are learning those lessons quicker than others.”
– Mark Britt, CEO and co-founder of iflix
The company was launched in 2015 from a base in Malaysia and has recently expanded operations to 24 countries and territories, including many in Africa and the Middle East. It pitches itself as “the world’s leading entertainment service for emerging markets.” Of the company’s 6.5 million active paying subscriptions, most are in Asia and roughly 500,000 are in the Middle East. Iflix users tend to be binge viewers, with per visit duration typically 105-150 minutes and peak viewing time between 10 pm and 2 am.
“We are doing everything we can to encourage binge-watching.”
– Mark Britt
Iflix is, however, somewhat stifled with the problem of piracy in the South Asian region. Countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, India and the Philippines still have a massive amount of pirated content circulating online. The vast audience consuming “free content” on the internet is, quite obviously, reluctant to pay for it.
“We founded iflix with the aim of offering consumers an alternative that is better than piracy,” Britt said in an interview with The Drum. “We envisioned bringing together the world’s best content, with thousands of first-run exclusive titles, award-winning TV series, blockbuster movies, exceptionally popular local and regional content, children’s programs, and more, to create a world-class service where users can both stream and download programs, all for the price of a pirated DVD.”
Prior to founding iflix, Britt served as CEO of Nine Entertainment’s digital arm Mi9, where he was responsible for the company’s streaming video on demand investments and portfolio of start-up ventures.