SOUTHEAST Asian video streaming service iflix continues to try to one-up Netflix. Besides introducing offline viewing ahead of its rival, iflix is getting into the sports live-streaming arena.
As reported by Tech in Asia, iflix will be, unsurprisingly, launching the feature in Indonesia first. In terms of coverage, iflix will be teaming up with Indonesian free-to-air channel TVOne to live stream any matches from the archipelago’s first and second soccer leagues.
This move may begin iflix’s divergence from originally being just a Netflix clone for Southeast Asia, as live-streaming goes against typical on-demand platform offerings as they require viewers to tune in at a specific time.
— Mark Britt (@markbritt) May 29, 2017
According to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, live-streaming is likely not in the cards – although he isn’t completely ruling it out – as it goes against the company’s “watch-anytime” model,
“I will never say never, but I would say where we sit today, I don’t think the on-demandness to sports is enough of an addition to the value proposition to change,” he said, while noting having to pay huge sums for the rights to run live sports programming “doesn’t get [him] that excited.”
This was said back in 2015, so it’s possible Netflix will follow suit if iflix or other rivals are seen to find success with sports live-streaming.
Live-streaming has been validated by other tech greats. A couple of months back, Recode reported the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were locked in a bidding war to win rights to live-stream the NFL’s popular Thursday night matches.
All three were eventually beaten by Amazon, who shelled out US$50 million for the NFL streaming rights, broadcasting the games on its Prime service – resulting in a bit of mud on everyone else’s face.
— Kristin Bush (@Kristin_Bush) April 6, 2017
Punter David Kirkpatrick wrote on Marketing Dive at the time: “The streams being limited to Prime members adds an interesting wrinkle to the equation. While anyone could tune into the Twitter broadcasts, the NFL is potentially limiting its reach here, but also might engage a more dedicated, targeted audience with Amazon.”
It’s certainly on trend to get into sports live-streaming and iflix is doing it to increase the amount of time users spend on its service.
A company spokesman said:
“Iflix is focused on measuring viewership and usage, rather than subscriber numbers.”
Not to mention introducing live-streaming options for two Indonesian soccer leagues is a part of iflix’s approach to offer localized content for its users. And as always, it’s market expansion strategy has been focused on gaining a foothold in the emerging markets.
If you just look at subscription numbers, Netflix is dwarfing iflix with its 98 million subscribers worldwide compared with the latter’s five million. In terms of agility in trying new things, iflix appears to be less cautious.