Netflix competitor Iflix targets new paying customers in Indonesia and Philippines with telco tie-ups

Iflix hopes to sign up more members to its paid-for content by introducing carrier billing.

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Netflix competitor Iflix targets new paying customers in Indonesia and Philippines with telco tie-ups

Iflix, a Netflix-like video streaming platform targeting emerging markets, announced strategic partnerships with two major Southeast Asian telcos – Telkomsel in Indonesia and Globe in the Philippines – respectively as the firm continues to sign up telecoms across the region to tap into the carriers’ large users pools.

One key component of the partnerships is carrier billing. With this, Iflix can accept mobile phone credit as a form of payment for its premium content.

Telkomsel has more than 167 million subscribers while Global claims more than 65 million.

Carrier billing is relevant in so far as cashless payments online are still a point of friction for Southeast Asian consumers. It’s in part because credit card ownership is low in this region, which means people aren’t comfortable with cashless payments and recurring payments like subscriptions online. Another reason is that a significant amount of people prefer an ad-based model where they consume content for free, intermitted by advertising, instead of paying for it.

This led Iflix to launch a free version in mid-2018. The telco tie-ups in Indonesia and the Philippines now make it easier for consumers to upgrade to the premium version IflixVIP, because it creates another payment option that’s relatively easy and trusted.

Telkomsel’s more than 167 million customers throughout Indonesia can now “easily and conveniently access [..] iflixVIP through a single simple and secure step,” said Iflix in a statement.

Telkomsel and Iflix’ partnership dates back to the days when the mobile carrier chose to block the US-based competitor Netflix when it entered Indonesia in 2016, and the new carrier billing feature strengthens those ties.

In the Philippines, Iflix is going one step further with Globe. Besides carrier billing, the two firms also agreed to co-produce content and for Iflix to license content from Globe’s existing content business.

Editor: Ben Jiang