Content on the service has been tailored specifically for the country, with a strong focus on local TV shows and movies, and includes a number of popular programmes for which exclusive rights have been acquired.
Plans are also under way for original productions.
The service is branded ShowMax and uses the current ShowMax platform and Polish language apps.
Commenting on the decision to expand ShowMax, CEO John Kotsaftis said: “This is a big deal for us, especially coming just 18 months after we launched ShowMax. With more than seven million people paying for online video in Poland and an overall population of more than 38 million, this is an exciting market. The key to success, however, is catering for local needs. To deliver on this and be close to the market, we chose to set up operations in Warsaw, headed up by a respected Polish pay-TV and internet TV pioneer. This team is aggressively developing a strong portfolio of local content including commissioning original productions.”
Former Google executive Maciej Sojka has been hired to set up and run ShowMax Poland. He ran YouTube partnerships for CEE, the Middle East and Africa, prior to which he set up the 24-hour news channel TVN24 before moving on to the role of CEO of satellite pay-TV platform owned by ITI Neovision.
ShowMax Poland’s executive team also includes Grzegorz Esz as head of marketing (ex-UPC Polska and T-Mobile) and Jerzy Dziegielewski as head of content (ex-HBO Central Europe).
Naspers says that ShowMax Poland is tackling three key consumer challenges, namely having access to local content so people don’t feel the need to resort to pirate sites, helping subscribers discover relevant new content, and having conveniently accessible, high-quality video free from the malware sometimes present on pirate sites.
Kotsaftis added: “Poland is an interesting market in that local content features heavily on pirate sites, with many of these sites actually charging for access. In fact, pirate sites account for a significant portion of all online video revenue. This tells us there’s a ready appetite to pay for a truly Polish service with content that excites and entertains people.”
More details on the content commissioned by ShowMax Poland will be released in due course.
Speaking about the strategy for original productions Kotsaftis said:“I think the key difference in our approach to original productions is we’re looking hyper-local. We’re not trying to compete with prohibitively expensive shows designed to appeal to audiences worldwide. Instead we think there’s strong demand for local content that only works at the local level.”