By Brian Yatich
Internet giant Naspers’on Wednesday launched its video-on demand (VOD) service ‘ShowMax’ in the Kenyan market as it seeks to take a slice of the growing market. The company, citing specific requirements for the Kenyan online market, the company introduced ShowMax select a “two-tier service” that enables both the premium and budget users to enjoy largely similar service though with slight key differences. ShowMax Select, is a mobile-first, data optimised product that offers reduced data consumption with savings of up to 75 per cent, with specific focus on local content and is priced at KSh. 330 per month. ShowMax Premium, priced at KSh 880 per month and has a full range of international and local content. Both tiers allow subscribers to either stream content or to download up to 25 shows to watch offline. Downloaded content is valid for 30 days. Data usage is charged separately and works with a customer’s existing data bundles.
Speaking during the launch ShowMax CEO, John Kotsaftis said that they don’t believe in one-size-fits-all solutions. “Kenya has different needs and tastes to other countries and deserves something designed specifically for Kenyans. ShowMax is the first international internet TV service that’s priced in KSh and paid for using M-PESA. It’s the first to put strong emphasis on local content including having sports clips. It’s the first to be optimised for mobile usage, reducing data consumption by as much as 75 per cent. And it’s the first to deliver all of this at an affordable price point.” He added
The VOD Company reaffirmed their commitment in focusing on Africa with some of the programs tailored to feature local content with approximately 30 per cent regional content and 70 per cent international content. Subscribers can choose from a number of different download video quality levels. Using the most data-efficient setting, downloading a 20-minute TV show will use approximately 80 MB. This means that a 7.5 GB data bundle would be enough for more than 90 episodes.
South Africa is ShowMax biggest Market in Africa then followed by Kenya.
“It doesn’t matter how good your service is if you don’t first solve the data challenge for customers, particularly for the majority of people who rely on mobile internet. That’s why we designed data-saving features and the ability to download content into ShowMax from the outset. With these features and a strong focus on local content, we think ShowMax will finally crack the internet TV model in Kenya.” Kotaftis said
ShowMax was launched back in 2015 and is currently available in 37 countries in Africa, it is part of the Naspers group, which also owns the dominant satellite television service in sub-Saharan Africa, DStv, through its subsidiary MultiChoice Africa.
John Kotsaftis, General Manager, ShowMax
John Kotsaftis started his career as a programmer and has more than 20 years’ experience in internet technology and innovation.
After joining Naspers in 2003 to run a product incubator, John moved on to run product development in Media 24. In 2006 he set up a global internet / mobile product development unit within Naspers, running a variety of M&A and startup projects with companies such as Mail.Ru (Russia), Allegro (Poland), Ibibo (India) and Brasigo (Brazil).
After almost six years as the CEO of DStv Digital Media (2009 – 2015), during which time he launched DStv’s On Demand and Box Office services, John took on the challenge of starting a subscription video on demand business from scratch.
ShowMax was first conceived of in late 2014 with work starting in earnest in early 2015. The service launched in in August 2015 and is now available in 65 countries.