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Our efforts to curate diverse range of high-quality local content resonates strongly with our audience – Filani

Our efforts to curate diverse range of high-quality local content resonates strongly with our audience – Filani

ALAT by Wema recently unveiled a 50-percent discount offer on all tiers of Showmax subscriptions in a move to provide Nigerians with a unique opportunity to enjoy a substantial reduction on their Showmax subscription plans through the ALAT Rewards feature on the ALAT app. Ope Filani, general manager, Showmax Nigeria, speaks on the platform’s collaboration drive and market projection. Excerpts by Seyi John Salau. 

Can you tell us about your figures for the first half of the year?

Our subscriber base has seen a steady growth, and we have achieved significant milestones in terms of content viewership. Our AMVCA-nominated Original telenovela, Wura, which wrapped its first season in July enjoyed an incredible following and was a major viewership driver owing to its mass appeal. Also, our first original animation series, ‘Jay Jay’: ‘The Chosen One’ broke records as the most streamed kids content over international kids’ titles in Nigeria, Ghana and some countries in East Africa. Both of these and more point to the fact that our efforts to curate a diverse range of high-quality local content has continued to resonate strongly with our audience as we have witnessed consistent increase in the consumption of local content on our platform. I think the reception of our homegrown content plus our selection of award-winning international content including HBO offerings like Succession were a major highlight for us. We witnessed a 26% growth rate in our subscriber base for the financial year which ended in March 2023. So overall, the first half of the year has been a period of significant growth and achievement for us. We are excited about the momentum we have built and as a proudly African brand; we are particularly excited about the growth of local content consumption.

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What are your projections for the rest of 2023?

We anticipate a continued uptrend in our subscriber base, and this projection is supported by our ongoing efforts to expand our content library, as well as our partnerships with local and international production houses. We have a number of big ticket shows coming up in the next couple of months which we’re very excited about. Also with major events like Big Brother Naija and our slate of upcoming Originals, we expect increased viewership and engagement. Additionally, earlier in the year we signed a major partnership with Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Sky that will bring some of the world’s best content and technology to streaming customers across our footprint in sub-Saharan Africa. With this, we’re set to significantly expand our content portfolio offering the best of local content and award-winning and critically acclaimed international content licensed from NBCUniversal and Sky, third party content from HBO, Warner Brothers International, Sony and others, as well as the Premier League. In summary, our projections for the rest of 2023 are rooted in our dedication to delivering exceptional content, fostering meaningful partnerships, and continually enhancing the viewer experience.

The streaming platform has been growing its local content recently; what can you tell us about your marketing drive and local content?

We recently launched our first-ever Nigerian masterbrand campaign with the tagline, ‘No One Tells A Story Like We Do’ and that is really the core of everything we do. Over the past year alone, we have released eight Nigerian originals across various genres, and our audience’s appetite for authentic narratives continue to drive our focus on collaborating with talented Nigerian film makers, and we expect a continued increase in the consumption of original Nigerian content.

Providing entertainment to families on a holistic level is a key marketing drive for us and this has led us to curate an expansive library of locally produced and international content which can be enjoyed by every member of the family. To this end, we’ve harnessed the potential of social media platforms, collaborated with influencers, and tapped into data-driven insights to create targeted campaigns that highlight the allure of our local content. Additionally, strategic partnerships with telecom companies, ISPs, and other key industry players have expanded our reach and made our platform more accessible to a wider audience.

Looking ahead, we’re committed to nurturing the local entertainment ecosystem and being a driving force for positive change in the industry. By staying true to our mission of delivering top-tier entertainment rooted in Nigeria’s vibrant culture, we’re excited to shape the future of digital entertainment in the region and beyond.

Any new originals for the second half of the year?

Yes, we have exciting plans for new originals in the coming months. Our local content slate is expanding; we will be launching more originals in the coming months which include reality TV shows, more drama series and beloved telenovelas. Our content team has been working diligently to bring fresh and compelling content to our platform. These investments are in keeping with our commitment to making content for locals by locals, because no one tells a story like a local.

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Since you came onboard as the general manager, Showmax has been driving partnerships within the market: what influenced this drive for partnership?

The drive for partnerships within the market is influenced by our commitment to providing the best possible content and user experience to our subscribers. Our partnership with telcos like MTN and Glo and fintechs like OPay and Quickteller, for instance, has seen us provide seamless payments options for our subscribers.

Collaborating with various stakeholders, such as customer-centric businesses and production houses allows us to expand our content slate, reach new audiences and showcase our diverse range of shows and movies. Our aim is to continue to offer our subscribers an unparalleled streaming experience, and partnerships play a crucial role in achieving this objective.

Competition in the market is currently growing; what is your take?

Just like any other industry, ours is also a very competitive one, and the growing competition in the streaming market is an indication of how much Nigeria’s entertainment industry has continued to evolve and grow. The country is rich in culture which the rest of the world is currently keen on learning about and experiencing. As long as we stay true to ourselves and our authentic stories, the industry will continue to attract the attention of the world.

Increased competition means more opportunities for us to continue to enhance our customer experience and become the streaming platform of choice. For instance, a competitive advantage we have is live sports. Showmax streams SuperSport content in Africa, including the most watched football league in the world, the Premier League which is a key selling point in a continent that’s deeply passionate about football.

Ultimately, more streaming platforms mean more stories shared and more access to a global audience. And this is why Showmax is very keen on telling authentic local stories and spotlighting our local talents. We’ll continue to invest in quality content, telling the right stories and delivering a seamless user experience.