Streaming service iflix launches dedicated ‘channels’

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ASIAN video-on-demand service, iflix, has launched a new feature where viewers can tune in to “channels” which combines “the best of traditional pay television with benefits of on-demand services,” according to a company press release.

“We’re all about giving our viewers what they want and when they want but there’s a certain segment of the market… that’s geared toward channel programming,” Sherwin dela Cruz, iflix Philippines country manager, told BusinessWorld during the launch on Sept. 20 in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

“It’s something people are very familiar with so we’re aligning with them, so it’s a win-win for the brands and iflix. There’s no reason for us to remove ABS-CBN or Star Cinema from One More Chance because it’s something every Filipino will know,” he added.

Directly accessible on the home page of the app or site, Channels will curate shows based on the content from​ entertainment studios such as Disney (and Marvel), Star Cinema, GMA, Aniplus, and tvN, among others. So those who are into Korean dramas and movies can go on the tvN tab and view their current collection while those who are into Disney can similarly go to the Disney tab and go wild on the available content.

Unlike Netflix – a major player in the video-on-demand industry – Mr. Dela Cruz said iflix is not trying to separate the brand from its content in recognition of the viewing habits of the emerging markets it is currently in.

Iflix currently serves 22 markets across Asia and Africa including countries such as Jordan, Malaysia, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Kenya, among others.

The Philippines, according to Mr. Dela Cruz currently has over 5 million subscribers.

“Maybe in a few years [viewing habits] will change but not now,” he said, explaining the need for adopting channel-like programming within the web site and the app, especially for its market.

Iflix has marketed itself as an affordable service as monthly subscriptions can go as low as P99 while Netflix’s services start at P370.

Iflix has also amped up its recommendations engine by asking new users what genres they prefer watching to tailor-fit what it would recommend a viewer watch next.

Aside from the announcement of the new feature, iflix also announced new content coming in from Disney/Marvel – Frozen, Cars 1-3, Up, The Avengers, among others – as well as local content from Star Cinema.

Mr. Dela Cruz said that some movies from Star Cinema will be available on iflix as early as two months from their theatrical release. – Zsarlene B. Chua