Kotsaftis, speaking to TechCentral on the sidelines of the launch event, would not say what original content ShowMax would produce, but said its first locally produced title would be announced in the coming months.
The move mirrors US rival Netflix, which has produced a number of popular original series, including prison drama Orange is the new Black and political drama House of Cards.
ShowMax, which costs R99/month for unlimited access, has been launched outside of Naspers’s television entertainment subsidiary, MultiChoice, which owns DStv.
This was done to foster innovation and ensure Naspers produces the best possible online video-on-demand service, according to Kotsaftis.
ShowMax content is delivered over the Internet using content delivery networks “to bring the content as close to the edge [user]as possible”.
“We’ve built a very clever architecture to keep performance up, with cacheing servers in various places. We have servers all over the world, not just here in South Africa.”
ShowMax has 750 TV series with more than 19 000 individual episodes available. Total viewing time is more than 11 000 hours.
“This is just the beginning… We are going to grow this platform and adapt it based on what people want to watch,” Kotsaftis said.
“This is a long-term view for Naspers,” he said. “We think this is where the world is going to go. And we want to be there [at the start]and grow with it.”
Kotsaftis said ShowMax is “focusing on South Africa in a way that Neflix won’t”.
“We wouldn’t have done this if we hadn’t done our homework,” he said. “We think our content selection is broader. Our local content selection is an order of magnitude bigger than anything Netflix has done elsewhere in the world.” — © 2015 NewsCentral Media