Partnerships drive iflix’s growth in Myanmar

Adeana Greenlee, head of Indochina at iflix

Given increasing mobile penetration and a healthy appetite for amazing contents, iflix, a global streaming service provider with presence in 27 nations across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, is experiencing strong growth in Myanmar, according to Adeana Greenlee, the firm’s head of Indochina.

Greenlee said in an interview that Myanmar has demonstrated huge potential since the firm launched the nation’s first international SVOD (subscription video on demand) service in March 2017. “There has been a 100-percent increase in subscribers since the beginning of this year. We hope all subscribers in Myanmar will be habitually using the service by the end of this year,” she said.

As reported by Mediaweek in May 2018, iflix boasts over 12 million subscribers. With new markets and new features, the firm’s growth metrics are anything but average, said Greenlee.

“The growth we have seen to date is exceptional, and we expect similar and accelerated growth going forward in both our new and existing markets,” she said. 

She added that partnerships with telecom operators, retailers and other local counterparts were “instrumental” in the firm’s growth.

“We have been able to successfully collaborate with local partners, content providers and regulators in Myanmar to build a service we wish to share with everyone. By improving payment gateways and offering a vast library of free content, we want to ensure the people of Myanmar gain access to world-class entertainment,” Greenlee said.

The firm is now working closely with three telecom operators – MPT, Telenor and Ooredoo – to deliver the most convenient payment solutions for subscribers, she said, while hinting at potential future cooperation with MyTel, the nation’s fourth telco which recently entered the market.

“We are always open to mutually beneficial opportunities in an effort to deliver amazing entertainment to as many people as possible,” Greenlee said. Starting last month, customers subscribing to 5mbps, 10 mbps and 15mbps Telenor broadband plans can redeem monthly unlimited access to all iflix contents and features at no additional cost.

Subscribers through the MPT network will have one year of unlimited access to thousands of TV shows, movies and additional content for up to five devices, valued at 36,000 kyat (Bt857) in subscription fees. In partnership with Ooredoo Myanmar, the firm has introduced a direct carrier billing service which customers can conveniently pay for iflix subscriptions using their mobile account.

Greenlee seems proud to reveal the firm’s cooperation with leading retailers in Myanmar. It has partnered with Myanmar retail giant, City Mart Holding Ltd, to provide a new offline payment method in nearly 150 outlets nationwide under CMHL. Its partnership with Red Dot Network also provides a nationwide payment footprint in thousands of retail outlets.

“There are limitations in payment gateways across the country, and we will continue to explore alternatives in order to provide everyone a chance to access incredible entertainment on their terms,” she said.

Additionally, the firm works very closely with playlisters, celebrities and influencers who routinely share their personally curated playlists on the iflix platform for their fans to follow and enjoy.  

The firm also has a strong partnership with two famous Myanmar artists_ Sai Sai Kham Leng and PhwayPhway. Greenlee believes the two megastars could support the firm’s mission to revolutionise entertainment for millions of Myanmar people.

Earlier this year, iflix livestreamed Sai Sai’s annual birthday celebration concert which enticed than 200,000 people log onto iflix to watch it. “We have received a tremendous response to Sai Sai’s birthday concert, and we are thrilled to give our users across the region virtual front row seats to more exciting performances in the months to come,” she said.

In a bid to combat piracy in Myanmar, the firm also works with the Myanmar Motion Pictures Organisation. Currently, upgrading of the application is under way for the users’ convenience. Once completed, users will have access to a larger collection of content and could preview episodes of top Western content at no cost, as well as download up to 25 assets for 30 days. 

Greenlee expects the iflix team in Myanmar to grow in line with its market growth. Currently, the firm has nearly 40 employees based in Yangon, with more than 95 per cent local staff. 

“We started with a small team in Myanmar which grew quickly within the first few months,” she said.

In order to deliver the best localised contents, localisation and customer service teams account for over 50 per cent of its workforce in Myanmar. 

“We are very proud to provide a service that is catered to extraordinarily diverse markets by prioritising our localisation efforts to cater to variations in culture, language and customs,” she said.

“Our service here is specifically tailored for Myanmar audiences. From content selection to marketing, local customers are at the core of everything we do.”

The service is currently available to over one billion consumers in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Morocco and Tanzania.