CEO Series

Azran, CEO Of iflix Malaysia On Diversifying Strategy To Stay Ahead Of The Game

In the recent years, we’re seeing the rise of on-demand video streaming services, and two of the biggest names in Malaysia are undoubtedly iflix and Netflix. It’s really no surprise that such services are growing in popularity.

After all, what millennial can resist being able to binge-watch entire seasons of shows all at once? And who bothers with waiting around for that exact time of the day when a TV episode airs, particularly if it’s not a new show? Better yet, how can you deny the convenience of having hundreds of movies at your fingertips, ready to be selected and loaded up in seconds?

The CEO of iflix Malaysia, Azran Osman-Rani, made the same observation of the audience he reaches out to when he told Vulcan Post, “The Malaysian audience today are demanding greater flexibility with not only what they watch, but when, how and how frequently they watch it.”

Tying Together Industry Experiences

Image Credit: iflix Malaysia
Azran Osman-Rani (Image Credit: iflix Malaysia)

Having been with iflix Malaysia since its launch one and a half years ago, Azran brings to the table a wide range of experience in different fields, having served stints in organisations such as AirAsia X, Astro and Tourism Malaysia.

According to him, there are a lot of similarities across industries. All deal with rapid growth, opening up new markets and introducing innovative products and services.

Azran said, “At the heart of it, it comes down to building an organisation and culture that is nimble and agile and willing to try new things. We focus a lot of effort on hiring, especially hiring leaders and managers who can fit our culture. We encourage initiative and creativity and accept that we’ll make many mistakes along the way, which is the best way to learn and improve.”

Another skill that he’s found useful and is still actively applying is connecting with current and prospective customers directly. “They are a tremendous source of ideas. I use social media to reach out to as many people as possible, and now at iflix, customer engagement via social media is our primary marketing and customer service platform,” he said.

Making Use Of Available Mediums

Image Credit: iflix Malaysia
“Hacked” Twitter page. (Image Credit: iflix Malaysia)

Mr. Robot is an award winning TV series about a computer programmer who has a second identity as a vigilante hacker. Having acquired exclusive rights in Malaysia to air the second season of this show on their platform, iflix Malaysia launched a large cross-platform marketing campaign named Hack by Mr. Robot.

The campaign made its presence felt on many forms of media from the iflix webpage, app, social media channels and was on billboards across Kuala Lumpur too. Several media portals and local celebrities also had their social media accounts “hacked”.

He counts the campaign as a success they managed to engage hundreds of followers, who also participated in their social media contest. Azran said, “We wanted to create a holistic experience, a campaign that invades your day-to-day life and set out to recreate the experience where ‘Control is an illusion’. We imagined how the public would feel if an invasion similar to the events that transpired in Mr. Robot occurred in real life.”

Staying Ahead Of The Competition

Image Credit: Geekception Youtube
Image Credit: Geekception Youtube

In terms of on-demand video streaming, thinking of Netflix is unavoidable. Having made its way to our shores this year, the comparisons between iflix and Netflix will be inevitable. You could say iflix already has a headstart from the get-go because they’re considerably cheaper (RM8/month versus RM33/month). However, some of us (me included) might still be attracted to Netflix because of their original series and larger international show offering.

Azran shared one advantage that they currently hold. “Malaysians are always on the go; with iflix, each subscription allows users to access the service on up to five devices, including phones, laptops, tablets, and television sets, for viewing anytime, anywhere.” In comparison, Netflix’s basic package only allows for one screen to be used at a time, which makes sharing your account with your household members difficult.

He also believes that speed is another key factor as they diversify their service. He said, “iflix, an Asian internet-TV service was the first to introduce download and watch offline, a feature that makes watching more convenient.”

This is in part to combat what he calls inconsistent infrastructure and expensive and limited mobile data allowances in Malaysia. After all, even if we want to watch our shows on-the-go, many of us would blow our data allowances too quickly if we were streaming purely on mobile data. Offline viewing allows users to download the shows while on WiFi and watch them later when convenient.

Strategic partnerships with other local telco providers has also boosted iflix’s presence and revenue. Azran said, “We earn wholesale revenues from TM, who purchase our annual subscriptions to give it to Unifi and Streamyx customers at no additional cost. This is also the case with our other partners. A very significant majority of our current customer base are on paid subscriptions—either paid directly from the customer, or indirectly to us by their telco.”

Although iflix is gaining traction and popularity, Azran personally feels that his tenure’s greatest achievement isn’t just company growth. “I think one big accomplishment is making a positive difference to other people, especially seeing others grow, succeed and thrive as a result of your own small contribution. From an iflix point of view, I take pride in seeing so many young team members grow fast and take on more responsibility,” he said.

Feature Image Credit: Meld Magazine

 

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