Europe is the latest region that South African internet TV service ShowMax has set its eyes on. ShowMax is now streaming in the Eastern European nation of Poland.
The company is counting on its acquisition of exclusive rights to a range of popular local shows like political satire Ucho Prezesa (Ear of the Chairman) alongside several popular movies by Polish directors like Pitbull and Planeta Singli.
According to a statement to the media from the company, more local original shows are planned.
ShowMax’s expansion into the European market starting with Poland is inspired by the country’s high number of people paying for online video – 7 million. By tapping into resourceful talent like the new head of ShowMax Poland, Maciej Sojka, a former Google executive who oversaw the search giant’s YouTube partnerships in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the Middle East and Africa, ShowMax hopes it will be able to lure even more of Poland’s 38 million strong population to its service.
ShowMax will cost 5 Euros in Poland.
ShowMax’s secret weapon in the war to win the consumer in a market that is very competitive, according to CEO John Koustafis, is its approach to local content. “I think the key difference in our approach to original productions is we’re looking hyper-local. We’re not trying to compete with prohibitively expensive shows designed to appeal to audiences worldwide. Instead, we think there’s strong demand for local content that only works at the local level.”
ShowMax launched 18 months ago in South Africa and it has rapidly expanded its presence to over 60 other countries. It has been active in the Kenyan market since October last year caching content locally and entering into deals with local mobile network operator Safaricom as well as enabling payments via mobile money services instead of credit/debit cards, the option available to users of the service globally.
With Europe in the bag, should we expect to see the video-on-demand service also become available in other regions like the Americas, for instance? “No specific plans on further growth at this stage.” That was the response we got when we posed that question to ShowMax’s head of communications, Richard Boorman.