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Thursday, August 20, 2015

SHOWTIME FOR SHOWMAX: Naspers' ShowMax officially launches in South Africa, 'we're aiming to change the game,' says boss John Kotsaftis.


Naspers officially launched its new streaming subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service ShowMax on Wednesday afternoon at its brand-new South Africa headquarters in Greenstone House in the Stonemill Office Park in Randburg.

ShowMax Premium that costs R99 per month unlimited access and with ShowMax Basic for free with a limited number of free content available, will be competition for Naspers' pay-TV division MIH's MultiChoice which runs the DStv satellite pay-TV service.

ShowMax - managed by John Kotsaftis as the general manager, and who was the CEO of DStv Digital Media until he left mid-2014 - is however aiming to create a foothold and commercial market presence in the South Africa's new but growing SVOD market before the arrival of the global over-the-top (OTT) streaming operator, Netflix which will be its real competition in the market segment.

ShowMax will now also be competing with other VOD services such as MTN's FrontRow costing R119 and Times Media Group's VIDI that announced on Wednesday - the same day as ShowMax' launch, that its teamed up with Samsung to bring a streaming Smart TV app to Samsung TV sets.

ShowMax now has the biggest selection of SVOD content in South Africa of all operators and subscribers who get a  7-day free trial, can access the service through internet browsers or on tablets and smartphones through the ShowMax app.

ShowMax raided - and Naspers allowed it - top MultiChoice and M-Net talent like Victor Eckard who was the director of general entertainment at M-Net and who is now the head of content at ShowMax, and industry heavy-weights like Richard Boorman, formerly at Vodacom.

ShowMax is launching with 750 TV series, 850 complete seasons, with more than 19 000 individual episodes and a total viewing time of more than 11 000 hours - content adding up to more than a year's continuous viewing of series, movies, documentaries, kids shows and classic programming from the vaults of the SABC.

"This is just the beginning," said John Kotsaftis. "We are going to grow this platform and adapt it based on what people want to watch", saying ShowMax is a "long-term investment for Naspers".

"This is where the world is going to and we want to be there and grow with it. ShowMax brings customers two unique benefits - a library many multiples larger than those currently available through local services and also African content not available through services originating outside the continent."

"We're unashamedly ambitious in what we're aiming to achieve with ShowMax," says John Kotsaftis.

"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 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," says John Kotsaftis.

"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."