KUALA LUMPUR-based video-on-demand (VOD) service, iflix, has announced its partnership with Philippine media and entertainment company, Viva Communications Inc., which includes “a substantial” investment in the streaming service and plans to launch several films and series within the next three years, according to an iflix executive.

“[The Viva investment] includes co-producing 30 movies within three years and nine TV shows,” Sherwin dela Cruz, country manager of iflix Philippines, told BusinessWorld during the July 10 event at Common Ground in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

The partnership, which took three years of meetings to put together, is line with Viva’s direction of going regional.

“We’re happy because we’re bringing our content on the platform and we’re even happier we’re getting our stars exposed in an international platform… and hopefully some of them can break through,” Vincent G. del Rosario III, COO and President of Viva Communications Inc., said during his speech.

“Viva is now looking at expanding regionally and I think what better way to execute a dream is to enter a partnership with iflix,” he added.

The deal with iflix also includes Viva’s entire library which Mr. Dela Cruz pegged at 9,000 hours worth of content.

Mr. Dela Cruz said that the first film to be co-produced with Viva has a tentative December release date but that their plans for producing films are being adjusted to comply with the recent Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) memorandum released in June that states that a film which has had a theatrical release will have to wait 150 days before being shown in other screening platforms.

The FDCP memorandum noted that the policy is to “maximize the movies’ revenue opportunity in local cinemas.”

“We were eyeing to release it sooner after the theatrical release,” Mr. Dela Cruz said before admitting that the new policy threw a spanner into their plans. He said that five months is too long as the audience may have already forgotten about the film before it drops in screening platforms.

“I’m not complaining about it. I understand the pros of the new policy but it does have its cons,” he said.

The first film off of the partnership is a comedy, though he said that they are planning to release films of various genres “every month or every 45 days” for three years.

Currently, the Philippines has 3.2 million monthly active iflix users, a number Mr. Dela Cruz said will be bolstered by the Viva library and the slew of original content to come as he noted that Filipinos are fans of local content.

iflix is currently available in 22 countries in Asia and North Africa including Morocco, the Sudan, Egypt, Southeast Asia, the Maldives, Kuwait, and Bahrain. In March this year, the company reported that it has more than 25 million subscribers on the service, 19 million of whom are monthly active users, according to a presentation made during the launch.

Last year, iflix launched a free tier where users can watch content without paying although it does include advertisements. — Zsarlene B. Chua