The Singapore-based iwonder documentary streaming platform has launched its service across Southeast Asia with two films focusing on events that have gripped the region in recent years.
The Kleptocrats delves into the 1MDB fund scandal that upended Malaysian politics and reached all the way into Hollywood, while Lost: MH370 tries to make some sense of the tragedy of the Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing in 2014.
Positioning those two films front and center in a launch across the region sticks to the iwonder ethos of including a wide selection of distinctly local flavors to its scheduling.
“We think local stories are even more important in the documentary space than in the scripted space,” explained CEO and co-founder James Bridges. “Our first focus with respect to local stories has been on finding great films, TV shows and shorts, often internationally produced, about the APAC markets we’re in. We’ll continue to grow this international component, but in the coming months we will also focus on reaching out to the local producers making stories that originate within these markets.”
After launching in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand earlier in the year, iwonder now reaches into Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Bridges believes there is an ever-growing demand for fact-centered content globally.
“Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia are markets we know really well and where we have identified a clear demand for high-end documentaries,” he said. “But in a world increasingly muddied by fake news and disinformation, we’ve seen a growing global appetite for a service that offers less reality TV and more ‘actual factual’ content. So we are certainly looking at which additional markets it makes sense for iwonder to extend into in 2020 and beyond.”
Bridges was previously founding chief content officer at Malaysia streaming service Iflix, as was his iwonder co-founder, Andreas von Maltzahn. Their iwonder partner Mark Bridges was previously at Spideo, a French tech group that creates TV and movie recommendation engines for streaming services.
The iwonder platform has launched with more than 1,000 documentaries on demand in a free one-month trial, followed by a rate of $4.99 per month or $49.90 annually. It comes via iOS or Android mobile or tablet apps, as well as both Chromecast and Airplay.