ShowMax launched in South Africa on 19 August, offering a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service for a monthly fee of R99.
For that price, ShowMax boss John Kotsaftis said subscribers will have access to over 11,000 hours of TV shows – made up of over 750 titles, 850 seasons, and 19,000 episodes.
The service also has a selection of around 400 movies, which Kotsaftis said would be expanded in time.
Focussed on series, focussed on SA
Kotsaftis said they focussed mainly on series for the launch, as they’ve noticed subscribers on SVOD services “binge watching” shows.
Kotsaftis said they would take a page out of Netflix’s book by analysing their usage data, and then produce original content based on what is most popular on the service.
“Before the end of the year we’ll have our first original show for the South African audience,” said Kotsaftis.
This is one of the things that will give ShowMax an edge over VOD giant Netflix when they launch in SA, he said.
“We are focussing on South Africa in a way that Netflix doesn’t.”
Does ShowMax stand a chance against Netflix?
Asked if they believe if ShowMax can compete against the likes of Netflix, which already has over 60 million subscribers globally, Kotsaftis said they wouldn’t have launched ShowMax if they hadn’t done their homework.
“I think our content selection is actually broader compared to when Netflix launches in a new country,” he said.
“I’m not talking about using a VPN,” he added – referring to accessing the US Netflix catalogue by tricking the service into thinking you’re connecting to it from the United States.
“We are unashamedly ambitious. I think we have a fighting chance.”