(Quartz) Africa’s biggest media company will fight Netflix for control of the global streaming market

(Reuters/Mike Blake)

netflixWritten by Omar Mohammed

When Naspers, the South African media conglomerate, launched its video-on-demand (VOD) service Showmax earlier this year, the assumption was this was an attempt at keeping out Netflix. The US-based streaming platform aims to expand its service globally in 2016, including in Africa’s second-largest economy.

But it seems like this was just the opening salvo for Africa’s biggest media company. Naspers is reportedly expanding its three-month-old platform beyond the continent. The aim is to go global and challenge Netflix everywhere else, too, according to a report by Bloomberg. Naspers is hoping to attract potentially 15 million subscribers in North America, Europe, and Australasia.

The company, which already owns one of the most popular pay-TV outlet in Africa, has always believed it can compete beyond the continent. “We’ve never limited our ambition to South Africa,” Bob van Dijk, the chief executive of Naspers, said in August.

Naspers’ expansion strategy will be boosted by the partnership it has reportedly agreed with Samsung to have Showmax available on its smart TVs. Samsung controls almost a third of the global smart TV market. That’s a potential audience of about 60 million people.

But the manner in which Showmax aims to distinguish itself from Netflix appears to be around offering content that has yet to be the natural purview of the American platform. While it will continue to stock shows from the likes of CBS, the BBC and Time Warner, an area of strength for Netflix, it aims to show Africa-specific content as well, according to Bloomberg.

On this point, it has a clear edge over Netflix, at least for the moment. Through its MultiChoice outlet, the pan-African pay-TV platform, the company has access to significant content from across the region. This could help it attract the sizable African diaspora to its platform, which is estimated to be about 30 million people worldwide.

In addition to that, Naspers owns a stake in a Middle Eastern VOD platform that specializes in Bollywood and Arabic content. Housing this kind of programming could attract this demographic to Showmax and once again position itself differently from Netflix.

Naspers has shown itself to be astute in playing at a global level, particularly in emerging markets. It invested early in the Chinese internet giant Tencent and the Indian platfrom Ibibo, one of the country’s largest travel companies. With Showmax, Naspers—a $65-billion business and Africa’s biggest company by market value—is making another bet at a global audience.

To compete, Netflix needs to up its game, too.

This article was published on Quartz Africa.

African Union Expo on MNN channel’s AfricaTVUSA show!

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 6.49.46 PMCheck out Go Africa Network’s first annual African Union Expo on AfricaTVUSA, a TV show that highlights the activities of Africans living in the United States, on MNNManhattan’s free, public access cable network! The show airs every Wednesday at 2 p.m. on MNN’s culture channel (channel 4).

The Expo was featured on the channel today and will air again at the same time for two more consecutive weeks. You can catch AfricaTVUSA on MNN’s culture channel: channel 36 on FiOS, channel 85 on RCN and 67 and 1998 on Time Warner Cable.

You can also catch the show on MNN’s online live stream for the culture channel using your Facebook or Twitter account.

First annual African Union Expo featured on AfricaTVUSA.net

The first annual African Union Expo, hosted by the African Union Expo LLC and Go Africa Network at MIST Harlem on November 17, was featured on AfricaTVUSA.net, an online African television channel.

Listen as female entrepreneurs who participated in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s InnovateHER competition share innovative products and services that empower women and families, leaders detail their plans and policies in the trade and investment arena for Africa and the organizers share the event’s goals and mission.