The streaming giants Netflix and Prime Video, Showmax, in a competition world, the leading African subscription video on-demand (SVOD) service, is adopting a bold approach to secure its growth trajectory. The platform is placing its bets on locally produced content to counter the rising dominance of its competitors.
Having launched into the African streaming landscape in 2015, Showmax faced an uphill battle when Netflix and Prime Video entered the scene a year later. The ensuing rivalry has forced Showmax to innovate and pivot to retain its standing among African viewers.
According to Barry Dubovsky, the Chief Operating Officer at Showmax, who recently shared the company’s strategic shift in an exclusive media interview, also emphasized the importance of catering to the African consumer base and making the streaming platform highly relevant to their needs.
Dubovsky highlighted the localization agenda as a crucial element of Showmax’s strategy. The platform has expanded its language support to include 22 local languages and has even introduced sports offerings to engage viewers across the continent. By striving to become the go-to entertainment choice for African audiences, Showmax has demonstrated its commitment to understanding the market and adapting accordingly.
He said, “We want to be the logical choice for entertainment across the continent going forward. With that in mind, we have done a lot of things like being the first service to launch a mobile-only plan. So there’s been a lot of evolution which has been fantastic, and it’s really about us being locally focused, speaking to consumers, understanding the market, and adding convenient payment options like local currencies,” Dubovsky explained.
Supporting local content creators is a fundamental pillar of Showmax’s approach. While the platform maintains a partnership with HBO and offers a robust selection of international content, it acknowledges the significance of prioritizing local productions. Consumption patterns in key markets such as South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana have indicated a strong preference for homegrown content.
To meet this demand, Showmax is actively investing in local production houses and collaborating with the Multichoice Talent Factory to nurture talent and bolster the growth of the local content industry. This strategic initiative has yielded impressive results, with Showmax experiencing substantial subscriber growth in recent years. It surpassed industry averages with a 68% increase in subscribers last year and a remarkable 50% increase the previous year.
By embracing a hyper-localized content strategy and supporting the creative endeavors of African talent, Showmax aims to carve out its niche in the highly competitive streaming market.