Naspers names former HBO exec as Showmax CFO

Johannesburg - Naspers has named Akash Bhatia chief financial officer of its Showmax video streaming business as Africa’s biggest company by market value expands the service to 36 new countries in a challenge to Netflix, which is also growing in the region.

Bhatia has previously worked for Time Warner’s HBO and Comcast’s NBCUniversal. He is currently vice president of finance at Naspers’s classifieds business.

Africa’s largest pay-TV provider is seeking to win over streaming customers before Netflix gains more of a foothold in Africa, a region that can support more growth compared with mature and slowing markets such as North America and Europe. Showmax was made available to Naspers’s pay-TV customers last month. The service started in August and is available in 65 countries offering a Nollywood section, as well as an African Film section that pulls together classic movies from across the continent.

"What attracted me to Showmax is the growth potential and how they’re tackling expansion," Bhatia said in an e-mail. "The approach of being locally relevant in everything from content and functionality to payments and partnerships makes a lot of sense."

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