Malaysia-based video streaming service iflix has been expanding rapidly since its launch in 2015 with over 5 million subscribers in the Asian markets at the end of the first half of 2017. Its success in the region is the result of extensive partnerships with local operators and studios. Iflix has a competitive advantage compared to other international players in terms of localized content and more competitive pricing strategy. It offers features such as offline viewing for users who live in markets that still face limitations of slow internet connectivity. It also provides various payment options sensitive to local conditions. For example, in Myanmar, iflix partners with local payments company Red Dot that allows subscribers to pay cash in retail stores without the need of credit card.

Establishment of partnerships with local operators is an important way of geographical expansion besides reducing cost and mitigating risks. Its partnership with telecommunications service providers usually lasts about one to two years, which is considered long-term in the market. In iflix’s most recent launch in Cambodia, the streaming service inked an exclusive three-year partnership with Smart Axiata, a local mobile operator.

Users in emerging markets are less likely to pay for streaming services and more attracted to free services for now. Without the partnership with telcos, users will need to pay for an internet plan, which could be expensive, even though iflix is offering its service at a lower price. Partnerships with telcos are also important to deliver quality streaming of the video service to users in emerging markets where internet connectivity is often a challenge.