Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Streaming service iflix debuts in Cambodia

Streaming service iflix debuts in Cambodia

Smart CEO Thomas Hundt (left) shakes hands with global head of content partnerships of iflix James Bridges during the launch event held yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Smart CEO Thomas Hundt (left) shakes hands with global head of content partnerships of iflix James Bridges during the launch event held yesterday in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Streaming service iflix debuts in Cambodia

iflix, Southeast Asia’s largest internet television service, officially launched in Cambodia yesterday, announcing an exclusive three-year partnership with local telecom operator Smart Axiata.

With the launch, Cambodians can now use the online entertainment streaming service on tablets, phones, desktops, televisions and other internet-connected devices. The service’s arrival in Cambodia comes nearly 18 months after US-based streaming giant Netflix entered the local market. In addition to Netflix, iflix will also have to compete with the locally developed programme SOYO, a subscription-based video on-demand (VOD) service from Sabay Digital and the video streaming platform JaiKonTV.

“It is our aim to redefine how Cambodians experience entertainment through groundbreaking features and a seamless mobile experience,” said James Bridges, iflix’s global head of content partnerships.

He said the launch in Cambodia was part of the Malaysia-based VOD service’s expansion into emerging markets, adding that the partnership with Smart – which boasts over 8 million subscribers – would deliver it to as many devices as possible.

First launched in May 2015, iflix has rolled out its service in more than 20 countries throughout Asia, Africa and the Middle East, racking up over 5 million members.

Bridges said iflix’s growth in Cambodia would rely on working closely with local television producers to promote original Khmer content, and that the collaboration with Smart would help market the service.

“By providing a new platform for local talent and building a product that is better than piracy, we are committed to growing and supporting the Cambodian film and television industry in the coming months,” he said.

Already, iflix offers its most popular content with Khmer subtitles, with plans to have its entire catalogue subtitled by the end of this year. The company is also working on dubbing popular shows, especially dramas, into Khmer.

Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Axiata, said there is an increasing trend towards digital lifestyle choices. He said the mobile operator was committed to promoting local content through iflix and hopes to combat illegal copying of movies and television shows through the partnership.

“If people go to buy a pirated DVD, the price is $1.50,” he said. “Piracy is not good for local content at all. If people are not willing to spend some money, then nobody will be able to produce movies.”

Smart subscribers will be offered a three-month free trial of iflix, after which subscriptions will cost $3 per month. General subscribers are eligible for a one-month free trial.

In addition to its streaming service, users can use the “download and watch offline” feature, allowing customers to download shows and movies to their devices to watch when they are not connected to the internet, the company said.

Heng Souny, a fan of Korean drama and television shows, said yesterday that she downloaded iflix immediately after she learned that she could stream shows to her smartphone. For her, paying $3 per month appeared reasonable and affordable.

“The best thing is that I can access my favourite Korean movies with Khmer subtitles or Khmer dubbing,” she said. “The cost for the service is like a cup of brand-name coffee.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hungarian exposes 90 to Covid in Siem Reap

    The Ministry of Health has discovered 90 people who have been exposed directly or indirectly to a Hungarian man infected with Covid-19. They all are required to quarantine at home and the hospital. The ministry is searching for other affected people. Among the 90, one is the

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • PM warns of ‘new Cold War’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the possibility of a so-called new Cold War has become a significant concern and that all countries have to reject outright, any attempt to allow history to tragically repeat itself. He made the remarks in a speech during 75th Session

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped