Ask anyone in South Africa to name two streaming services and you’ll almost always get Netflix and Showmax as answers. The pair have comped for viewership, particularly on the African continent, since day one, and the global pandemic has only spurred this rivalry on. Now the streaming giant is investing in creating its own locally-grown African content to attract a larger audience from the African continent.
Showmax loves local
While Showmax is available in a few western countries, due to its South African roots it has more of a reach into Africa as a whole, available in 50 countries on the continent. To capitalise on its African-based audience, the streaming platform is now funding and concentrating on producing content set in SA, Kenya, and Nigeria, its biggest markets according to Reuters.
Now, Showmax is no stranger to local content. In the past year the streaming platform released several locally created productions, including a cop drama set in Kenya and a Nigerian reality TV series. But now it wants to increase its offering.
“For us, it really is about getting the local entertainment which we know African audiences enjoy, programming in their languages, stories reflecting their realities, their hopes and their dreams,” Showmax senior executive Yolisa Phahle told Reuters.
Showmax is producing locally-set content in tandem with HBO and Cinemax, who “…know that the stories that we are telling from our own backyard will find global audiences,” according to Phahle. Exactly how much is being invested in local content is currently unknown.
Showmax knows it’s competing with a lot of other platforms, not just Netflix, for viewership, and honing in on local content is sure to give it a leg-up. Plus, you can watch it on a budget, or even possibly for free.