Media and technology group Naspers is planning a video-on-demand (VOD) rival to Netflix, and is set to announce the new service at a media conference in Johannesburg next week, TechCentral has established.
Talk that Naspers is planning a rival to Netflix follows the news that the US company intends launching services in MultiChoice’s home market of South Africa — along with more than 150 other new territories — before the end of next year.
Last week, journalists were invited to a media launch on 19 August of a new VOD service.
Billed as “the most innovative and exciting entertainment service”, the invitation teases an as-yet-unnamed product offering top-flight content, including series such as The Big Bang Theory and Ray Donovan. These programmes are also flighted on DStv.
Technology tabloid MyBroadband said on Tuesday that Naspers aims to roll out the service to “large developing economies” to get to market before Netflix.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in January that the company intends expanding its operations to 200 markets by the end of 2016, and confirmed that South Africa was one of the countries in which it intended offering its VOD products.
“Acceleration to 200 countries is largely made possible by the tremendous growth of the Internet in general, including on phones, tablets and smart TVs,” Hastings said at the time.
Naspers, through MultiChoice, acquired a stake in a company called Icflix in April to accelerate its VOD plans. Its operations are based out of Dubai, and are believed to be headed by former DStv Digital Media CEO John Kotsaftis.
Kotsaftis, who headed other on-demand video projects for MultiChoice, was not immediately able to comment.
Icflix is a Middle Eastern and North African streaming and VOD platform that provides Arabic content, Bollywood and Hollywood movies and TV series in Arabic, English and French. Its main markets are Morocco, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. – © 2015 NewsCentral Media