Iflix looks to Hum for local content in Pakistan as it sets to deploy

By Jim O'Neill on Jan 04 2017 at 7:15 AM
Iflix looks to Hum for local content in Pakistan as it sets to deploy

Iflix, the Netflix wannabe that has gained a toe-hold in some Asia-Pacific countries, is extending its content reach, signing a multi-year programming deal with Pakistan’s entertainment channel Hum TV.

Iflix is set to deploy in Pakistan this year, so the content deal – which includes dramas and other episodic programming – gives it a bit more panache with Pakistani audiences. Included in the deal are shows like Bin RoyeHumsafar and Udaari.

Iflix last summer added a trio of execs tasked with pushing the SVOD service’s expansion in the region, focusing especially on developing markets. It’s deployed in Brunei, Indonesia and several other countries since then. The company also has focused on acquiring local content, hoping to gain an edge on both Netflix and Amazon, which just went global, as well as PCCW’s Viu, an AVOD service that has regional ambitions of its own and is riding on the back of a big library of popular Korean programing.

The deal for Hum content is a good example of that localization push.

“We are thrilled to add so many of Hum TV’s most popular and award-winning beloved, local dramas to our vast library of top international and regional content, as a part of our promise to deliver the best and widest selection of TV shows and movies from all over the world to our members,” said iflix Group Chief Content Officer, James Bridges.

Iflix, which was founded in 2014, likely is hoping to use the Hum deal as leverage with other networks in Pakistan.

But too much local content may be a double-edged sword, as some of the attraction for Netflix and Amazon SVOD offerings is their vast library of content from the Hollywood and other major content providers.

Both U.S.-based services are now deployed in some 200 nations and territories globally and both have committed to ensuring they have local content available, as well. But the major draw is the global content they’ve been able to license. And, both companies have targeted “elite” viewers in new markets, the top 10%-20% of well-off consumers – the “iPhone owners,” as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has referred to them – as their most-desired customers.

For iflix, localization may be key to winning the other 80% of consumers in its markets, but in so doing it goes toe-to-toe – not with Netflix and Amazon -- but with local broadcasters and other regionally targeted SVOD and AVOD services like Viu and the bevy of services incumbents are likely poised to launch.

Stay tuned.

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