Naspers to launch Netflix rival

Naspers is planning a video-on-demand rival to Netflix and will launch the new service to the media next week.


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.

Naspers owns MultiChoice, which operates pay-television services across Africa under the DStv and GOtv brands.

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.

The teaser sent to journalists last week

The teaser sent to journalists last week

“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

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  • The Spark

    Uh. No

  • CharlieTango

    Good luck to Naspers in terms of competing with Netflix when it already has such a poor reputation with DStv.

  • Luke L

    With KOTSAFTIS doing the same thing he did when he was at DSTV just in a different country I am sure Netflix are quivering in their boots. Stale, unimaginative, me-too thinking is all he is known for, oh and having a huge ego to boot.

  • Nico

    I’m in dubai and icflix is useless, it’s only good if you want Hindi programming. Don’t expect anything close to netflix

  • The Emperor has no clothes…

    Why would this make sense to Naspers who already own DSTV with competing products that are incredibly similar. I sense an attempt to try to gain (confuse?) customers who are already dissatisfied with DSTV’s offering/service. Why launch a new brand/platform/service when you already have mature versions of all 3? Do Naspers have so much money to waste that they just don’t care or is their marketing department staffed by the same ex Telkom employees who didn’t seem to be able to launch products that made sense and didn’t confuse potential customers?

  • Ryan

    Don’t underestimate Naspers ability to put together a good offering, even if it competes with DSTV………

  • MelcolmX

    Cornering a niche market where is their is only an apartheid economy, SAB, Telkom Eskom, Multi-choice. The Banks, cell phone companies and internet providers all in bed together, There is no real competitiveness in this country, its about rape and plague.

  • Gardos

    You should hop on the next train across the border and complain from a safer environment. You’d probably be doing many people a favour.

  • Micho T

    Bollywood, you probably have VPN turned on all the time, they have a huge Hollywood section, actually allot more recent than Netflix… switch off your VPN and give it a try, it will only work with MENA IP addresses… i would say a very good alternative to Netflix

  • Micho T

    so does that mean icflix will be available in South Arica?

  • The market for people interested in a VOD service, while arguably larger than we might think, currently consists of all of us technically inclined enough to have Netflix. This fact alone makes any other VOD service face a steep uphill battle in terms of content; sure your ‘average’ user won’t need static routing and DNS mods to get Netflix, but for the rest of us? *flicks back to the Netflix homepage to watch more series*