Late last year Netflix went global, it seems the party is not over yet. ShowMax, the internet TV service launched in August 2015 has gone global as well.
The video streaming platform has expanded its footprint to 36 additional countries across sub-Saharan Africa. In total, ShowMax now supplies subscription video on demand services to 65 countries worldwide.
The sub-Saharan service costs US$ 7.99 per month for unlimited viewing. The catalogue includes approximately fifteen thousand TV show episodes and movies, totaling almost ten thousand hours of viewing. The service includes a Kiswahili language section and a Nollywood section, as well as an African Film section that pulls together classic movies from across the continent.
Commenting on the development, Barron Ernst, Chief Product Officer for ShowMax said:
“The speed and cost of connectivity are significant hurdles for any internet-based service in Africa. Getting it right means you’ve got to do much more than just flick a switch.
“We’ve been busy testing the service in key locations across the continent and optimising our delivery network. Perhaps more importantly, we’ve adapted our apps to address the needs of consumers in Africa, introducing features like downloads for viewing TV shows and movies when not connected.”
“The other key to success is making sure you’ve got the right mix of international and local content. We’ve added Kiswahili and Nollywood shows and movies to our existing class-leading catalogue of Hollywood and British favourites,” said Ernst.
According to the GSMA, around 160 million connected smartphones were in use in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015, set to rise to more than 500 million by 2020. This explosive growth combined with the increasing availability of WiFi services, the rollout of FTTH in urban centres, and the rollout of other high speed fixed mobile options is driving the take-up of video on demand services.
“The growth potential of the African market is huge, and we’re not the only internet TV service looking to meet that demand. The difference is that we’re not simply cutting and pasting an existing model from elsewhere, and instead have built a product and content selection designed specifically for Africa,” concludes Ernst.
Not Yet Ready?
PageOne did a quick check on ShowMax’s website and the service is still not yet activated. Visitors are required to drop their email address ‘Sorry, ShowMax is not available in your country yet.Enter your email and we’ll let you know as soon as ShowMax is available.’
It is unclear when ShowMax will open it up to SSA visitors.
ShowMax was started in launched in South Africa in 2015, with 400 movies and more than 750 series titles. The company owned and funded by Naspers, the parent company of DSTV, Multichoice, Konga, Tencent, OLX and other Internet verticals.
IrokoTV, an online streaming startup by a Nigerian Jason Njoku has not had it good for a while now. The company has since stopped web access to visitors firing more than 300 workers at last year. Netflix, the global market leader is also facing declining subscriber growth in emerging markets it is banking on.