iflix’s high-profile, headline-generating deals have been a constant in the five or so years since iflix’s launch. The high-excitement and energy around the new platform with big dreams, giant plans and mega investors ran strong for a while and then dissipated across a series of strategic pivots and ground arrangements that didn’t work out quite the way they were supposed to.
Fast forward a few years of lagging content licensing payments and requests to turn debt into equity... and here we are.
The recent novation agreements signed with distributors/rights holders prior to the sale this month to Tencent are likely to have migrated the highest value contaent agreements to the Chinese streaming giant and will power a turbocharged push into Southeast Asia though Tencent’s own app, WeTV, running alongside the newly acquired iflix – for the moment.
What happens to the others – and the outstanding invoices?
Impossible for us to say, but our bet is that if these haven’t been written off already, companies are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.
ContentAsia listed the content deals announced over the past 18 months or so. And we asked distributors involved in the announcements for an update...
The Date: 27 Apr 2020
The Headline: DW rolls out science programme in new deal with iflix
The story in a nutshell: The German broadcaster premiered its language-customised magazine programme in Indonesia (Inovator), Bangladesh (Onneshon) and Pakistan (Sawal) on 1 May to more than 5.6 million iflix viewers.
What now: “We have agreed with the novation but no paperwork has been signed yet.”
The Date: 16 Jan 2020
The Headline: iflix adds user-generated shorts to curated TikTok channel
The story in a nutshell: A first-time deal for a branded TikTok channel on iflix focusing on travel, comedy, pets, sports and lifestyle.
What now: “We will remove our content from iflix site because we have not extended our license to Tencent.”
The Date: 13 May 2019
The Headline: Asian streamer iflix premieres two Caracol TV telenovelas
The story in a nutshell: Human trafficking drama Broken Promises (60x60 mins) and action series Made in Cartagena (63x60 mins) – scheduled for July/August last year across multiple iflix territories.
What now: Long-running payment discussions ongoing.
The Date: 3 May 2019
The Headline: iflix, MNC announce significant digital partnership and investment
The story in a nutshell: A giant deal that put MNC CEO David Audy on iflix’s advisory board and gave iflix exclusive streaming access to 10,000 hours of local content, including Dunia Terbalik, Cinta Yang Hilang and Top Tukang Ojek Pengkolan – soon after TV broadcast. Deal announced as talk of an Australia IPO continued.
What now: No comment at the moment. Official update to come if there is one.
Media Prima (Malaysia)
The Date: 25 Apr 2019
The Headline: Media Prima, iflix unveil content share deal; hint at future co-production
The story in a nutshell: Media Prima titles stream on iflix an hour after Malaysia broadcast from June 2019. Media Prima also adds a Tonton channel with 1,000 hours of library content to iflix in Malaysia. Deal benefits touted included “greater content monetisation opportunities for Media Prima through iflix’s ad-supported tier, iflixFree”, which launched in July 2018. Details of content creation/co-production plans were not released, and as far as we can tell were not activated.
What now: [no response]
The Date: 24 Apr 2019
The Headline: JTBC takes “strategic investment” in SEA streamer iflix
The story in a nutshell: Privately owned Korean producer JTBC spends an undisclosed amount (speculation was that the investment was in the form of content supply) on a stake in iflix, which gained access to a few current shows and 500 hours of library titles including Sky Castle and ID: Gangnam Beauty for free and premium tiers. “Further collaborations” promised, but none announced.
What now: [no response from JTBC]
The Date: 15 Apr 2019
The Headline: Mediacorp sells 500 hours to iflix
The story in a nutshell: Singapore’s Mediacorp sells 500 hours of Chinese/English content – both new and library titles – to streaming platform iflix for its free and premium tiers. The first shows in the 30-title deal went on air in April. Titles include 2002’s The Unbeatables III, The Little Nonya (2008), new drama Kin season two, and long-running sitcom Phua Chu Kang, which debuted in 1997.
What now: “Discussions are underway and we are unable to share details at this moment.”
The Date: 8 April 2019
The Headline: Japan’s Yoshimoto invests in iflix, JV to distribute Japanese content in Asia
The story in a nutshell: A major agreement announced with much fanfare and then... radio silence. The dollar value of the deal – Yoshimoto Kogyo’s first investment in overseas media – was never disclosed and the Japanese entertainment conglomerate has declined to comment. The JV was supposed to have been based in Singapore and was supposed to distribute iflix content in Japan as well as produce local versions of Japanese formats.
What now: [no response]
The date: 6 March 2019
The Headline: iflix, Starvision deepen partnership, originals slate expands
The story in a nutshell: The renowned Indonesian production house sold nine Starvision titles, including Yowis Ben 2, exclusively to iflix, with a 120-day theatrical hold back. Yowis Ben 2 was followed by Lampor, Dua Garis Biru, Pocong: The Origin, Ghostwriter, and Sirep following in 2019; with Wish Comes True, Mariposa, and Imperfect in 2020. iflix originals produced by Starvision include Ten – The Secret Mission, The Underdogs, and Ernest Prakasa’s Susah Sinyal.
What now: Starvision was lured into the Hooq fold shortly before Hooq folded by a too-good-to-be-true offer, which turned out... well, we all know how that ended. Starvision, left hanging when Hooq went into liquidation, is thought to have split its allegiance between streamers now, and is likely to end up as part of the Tencent play.
The Date: 20 Feb 2019
The Headline: iflix, Screenplay add movies, originals to 2019 Indonesia slate
The story in a nutshell: One of a string of deals in a long-running content alliance we think is highly likely to be at the top of Tencent’s partner list. The three theatrical titles – Dancing in the Rain, Orang Kaya Baru and Calon Bini – in this particular headline streamed on iflix’s free tier. The three followed the debut of Screenplay’s Something in Between, also exclusive on iflix, and built on the 12-title slate acquired from Screenplay since 2016, including Promise, One Fine Day and The Perfect Husband. At the time, iflix and Screenplay were also working on -six-part original horror series, Conversation with Ghosts, targeting young adults, and a slate of movies announced in August 2018 with storytelling platform Wattpad Conversation with Ghosts was iflix’s second original with Screenplay after Magic Hour The Series, based on a Screenplay movie. On the Wattpad slate, Screenplay was supposed to produce 16 of the 26 agreed titles ; iflix’s original announcement put the number of Wattpad titles at between 28 and 40 split between local shops Screenplay and Star Vision.
What now: [no response]
The Date: 15 Aug 2018
The Headline: Wattpad stories power iflix new Indonesia originals
The story in a nutshell:
What now: No updates as yet.
P.S. iflix also signed a slew of multi-million dollar U.S. studio deals. We have no updates on the state of payment.