Naspers Said to Plan Showmax Expansion to Take on Netflix
Naspers Ltd., Africa’s biggest company by market value, is planning to expand its video-streaming competitor to Netflix Inc. into three new continents next year while Samsung Electronics Co. has agreed to include the service on its smart TVs, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The company will target more than 15 million customers outside its home market of South Africa, providing content across Europe, North America and Australasia, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. The service, called Showmax, will provide Afrikaans content in international markets next month and west African shows next year, according to the person.
Naspers Chief Executive Officer Bob van Dijk is overseeing the expansion of ShowMax across Africa and beyond as Netflix targets 200 countries next year. The move into online streaming is the latest evolution of a South African business that started as a newspaper publisher and is now an investor in emerging-market startups including Tencent Holdings Ltd. and India’s Ibibo.
A Showmax representative declined to comment. Samsung representatives declined to comment in an e-mail.
Naspers shares gained as much 1.6 percent to the highest on record and traded 1.4 percent higher at 2,230 rand as of 12:56 p.m. in Johannesburg.
Showmax has signed distribution partnerships in South Africa with Samsung and Telkom SA SOC Ltd., the country’s largest fixed-line operator, according to the person. The company is also in partnership talks with Vodacom Group Ltd., the South African unit of Vodafone Group Plc, and is exploring further expansion in sub-Saharan Africa, said the person.
Naspers, which has a market value of $65 billion and is Africa’s largest pay-TV provider, is competing with Ericsson AB’s NuVu and PCCW Ltd.’s OnTAPTV video-on-demand services on the continent as well as Netflix. Streaming services are targeting Africa as wireless networks become more widespread and reliable, allowing the delivery of video in a region where landlines are scarce.
Original Press Release - 19 August 2015
ShowMax brings world-class video on demand service to South Africa
On 19 August, ShowMax launches a new video on demand service representing a step-change in the range of video entertainment content available to consumers in South Africa.
The continued roll-out of high-speed internet connectivity worldwide is driving a change in viewing habits. In addition to watching scheduled television, people are increasingsly consuming movies and series via a range of video on demand services. These services are primarily differentiated by the size and quality of their catalogue, and until now the options available in South Africa have been limited in comparison to those available overseas. On 19 August, ShowMax launches a new video on demand service that is a giant leap forward in the range of content available to local consumers.
At launch, ShowMax has content adding up to more than a year’s continuous viewing of series, movies, documentaries, a wide selection of children’s shows, and an array of classics. Complete box sets of heavyweight series such as Entourage, Game of Thrones, and The Wire form the foundation of the service, and ShowMax brings new shows such as “The Late Late Show with James Corden” to the South African audience. The content catalogue, which totals more than 10,000 hours, spans major production studios from across the globe as well as local African content. This brings ShowMax customers two unique benefits – a library many multiples larger than those currently available via local services, and also African content not available via services originating outside the continent.
ShowMax is available via a wide range of smart devices with an Internet connection. This includes mobile phones and tablets via iOS and Android apps, laptop and desktop computers using a range of web browsers, and Samsung and LG smart TVs.
John Kotsaftis, General Manager of ShowMax South Africa said: “We’re unashamedly amibitious in what we’re aiming to achieve with ShowMax. The ongoing change in viewing habits has given us the opportunity to build a video on demand powerhouse to feed the marathon viewing trend. We’ve got all the best content from Hollywood and beyond, but at the same time we also have the local content that consumers here expect. Importantly, we’re bringing this in at an attractive price, and doing this across more devices than ever before.”
ShowMax is offering a seven-day trial period, with free access to the entire library in order to test the service. The ongoing cost of subscription is R99 per month, which allows access via five different devices. Two different video streams may be watched simultaneously on separate devices using the single monthly subscription. More information is available via www.showmax.com.
“We’re aiming to change the game. ShowMax won’t just be the best subscription video on demand service available in South Africa - we’re competing with the best in the world”, concludes Kotsaftis.
Combining more than 10,000 hours of international hit movies and series as well as the best home-grown content, ShowMax delivers a truly world-class subscription video on demand service. With a catalogue spanning major production studios from across the globe, for just R99 per month ShowMax takes content to a new level, giving local consumers the widest range of video entertainment for their smart devices. ShowMax aims to be Africa’s video on demand powerhouse blending local knowledge and international expertise to give an unparalleled video entertainment experience.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Richard Boorman – ShowMax Head of Communications
Richard.boorman (at) showmax.com +27 82 990 4080