Video company opens regional office in Kenya

Video-on-demand company Showmax has opened a regional office in Nairobi that is expected to drive growth of locally-produced content.

The South African firm said the Nairobi office will steer a strategy to expand Showmax’s presence in East Africa.

Showmax entered the local market in 2016 amid growing competition in Kenyan pay-television. The company has been expanding the local programmes and movies.

“Our new office in Nairobi forms the heart of our operations in East Africa and is key to this localization strategy,” said Showmax in a statement.

Showmax is accessible in 44 African countries. The company last month said that it had hit 20 million cumulative views in these markets with Kenya accounting for the second highest customer-base after South Africa. Showmax is owned by Naspers which is also behind MultiChoice. 

It is seen as Naspers answer to a changing entertainment environment in which existing pay-television companies have to contend with Internet-streaming and illegal downloads.

Localisation of content is a strategy that has been pursued by other international content providers. 

For instance, the expansion of American content-streaming firm Netflix to European countries has been accompanied by the development of original content targeted at those markets.

Netflix also came to Kenya in 2016 as did Amazon’s streaming service Prime Video. However, it is not yet clear whether these companies plan to adopt a strategy of localization in Kenya.

“Although there is a limited amount of local content available at launch in some countries, we will add more as the service grows in popularity and we better understand what our members want to watch in each region,” said Netflix in a statement to the Business Daily.

The entry of these video-on-demand services to Kenya has seen the traditional pay-television firms begin competing on price points. 

READ: Let the pay-TV battle begin!

Multichoice earlier this week said that it was going to freeze annual subscription fees for its DStv and GOtv products.

Exclusivity is also shaping up to be a key battleground for Kenyan viewers.

There are ongoing challenges to Multichoice’s continued hold of exclusive rights to broadcast Premier League games.

Kwesé Sports, owned by Zimbabwean Econnet Wireless, is posing a challenge to Multichoice’s sports exclusivity advantage.

The company recently beat out Multichoice to win the rights to broadcast NBA games in Africa.

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