Japan’s largest talent agency, Yoshimoto Kogyo has made an investment in regional video streaming platform iflix. The two companies will also cooperate on showcasing Yoshimoto’s content across Asia, the Middle east and Africa.
The value of the transaction was not disclosed. Nor was the size of the equity stake, though the two companies described it as “strategic” and “significant.” Founded by Malaysia’s Catcha group, Iflix already has investment from European satellite broadcaster Sky ($45 million in 2016). Publicly disclosed funding rounds in March 2017 brought in $90 million and Liberty Global, while a $133 round in August 2017 brought in Hearst Entertainment.
Their new joint-venture will be based in Singapore and produce versions of Japanese content formats, especially in the animation, drama, movies, variety, and comedy genres that are localized for Asian audiences. In the future, it hopes to develop original Japanese programs and movies for the Asian market.
Yoshimoto is already active in Indonesia, one of Iflix’s key trerritories. In 2014, it established MCIP Holdings and began the “Living in Asia Comedians” program, which now has Yoshimoto comedians living and working in 7 different countries in Asia. Hideaki Shimizu, VP of Yoshimoto Kogyo, called the latest move: “A big step for Yoshimoto Kogyo’s Asian strategy.”
“We have an incredible opportunity to deliver a uniquely localized product for iflix audiences based on proven Japanese comedy formats with mass appeal through this joint venture,” said Mark Britt, iflix co-founder and group CEO. “Yoshimoto Kogyo has set the standard for popular, culture-defining millennial comedy content.”
Iflix now offers users two tiers of usage and is currently available in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam, the Maldives, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Cambodia, Nepal, Bangladesh and Morocco.