Naspers is shutting down its Showmax video streaming service in Poland on 31 January 2019, the company told MyBroadband.
“This decision follows the announcement of our intent to list our pan-Africa video entertainment business as MultiChoice Group on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange,” it said.
Naspers said it also intends to simultaneously unbundle its shares in the business to its shareholders. Naspers will therefore retain no further interest in MultiChoice.
“After MultiChoice Group has been unbundled from Naspers, Showmax Poland will become a standalone, one-country video entertainment business that unfortunately will no longer be a good strategic fit for Naspers.”
It would also not fit in MultiChoice Group, which is focused on Africa, Naspers stated.
Showmax first expanded to Europe in February 2017 by adding Poland to its list of markets. Former Google executive Maciej Sojka was hired to set up and run ShowMax Poland.
The service was localised for the Polish market and 172,000 people signed up for the first free 14-day trial.
Reports at the time said that by comparison, Netflix saw 337,600 sign-ups for its month-long free trial when it first launched in Poland in January 2016. By February 2017 those numbers had plummeted to 80,000 subscribers.
When queried about the shuttering of Showmax Europe, a spokesperson for Connected Video at MultiChoice explained that Showmax Poland was separated from Showmax Africa late last year when the Connected Video arm was established.
“From the Showmax Africa perspective, there’s no change or impact. There is also no change with respect to our dev team in the Czech Republic,” Connected Video said.
Naspers said that it is very grateful to the Showmax team, its partners, and its customers for their belief in Showmax Poland since the service launched nearly two years ago.
“We are communicating to them the implications of this decision,” Naspers said.
“We’re sorry the Showmax Poland story ends here. Showmax Africa will continue to operate as part of MultiChoice Group, and Naspers’ other operations and investments in Poland are unaffected.”