After two years operating in Asia, streaming service iflix is expanding into the Middle East and North Africa.
The company, which has positioned itself as a Netflix alternative in countries where the streaming giant has less market share, has launched in eight territories in the two regions, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Egypt and Sudan. That means that iflix is now available in 18 countries, following its March launch in Myanmar.
Privately held iflix has not disclosed the size of its subscriber base, but says that over 6 billion minutes have streamed since it launched in Malaysia and the Philippines in 2015. With its launch into the Middle East and North Africa through a regional headquarter in Dubai, iflix now has 700 employees across 24 offices.
Iflix founder and CEO Mark Britt noted that the Middle East and North Africa region "is one of the fastest growing and most exciting online markets in the world with data savvy consumers who share a passion for entertainment. We are thrilled to make iflix's world class service, premier digital experience and the most comprehensive selection of content available to them, as part of our mission to redefine entertainment in emerging markets."
The expansion was fueled by a $90 million round of funding, which was announced in March, from Liberty Global, Middle Eastern mobile carrier Zain and existing investors Sky, Catcha Group and Evolution Media Capital. Last year, the company raised $45 million from Sky.
A subscription to iflix includes access to its library of thousands of exclusive programs, library television series, movies and regional Arabic and Asian content. The service also offers downloads of its shows and movies, which makes it easier to watch programs on the go or in areas with a spotty Internet connection.
Iflix's largest competitor, Netflix, has 100 million subscribers worldwide but only in the last year has emphasized its expansion into Asia and the Middle East. In January 2016, Netflix rolled out its service in more than 100 countries and added support for Chinese, Arabic and Korean.
To grow its subscriber base in its new territories, iflix is offering a 30-day free trial.