New VOD service entered Polish crowded VOD market. Is there any chance for ShowMax to succeed?
Even though Polish market is quite big, one of the biggest in CEE, for many big foreign companies is not enough to focus on it. Many years ago eBay launched Polish version and in fact did nothing more to fight for the Polish market. Someone in the company decided that brand name is strong enough to compete with local market leader Allegri without many efforts. eBay failed.
Many people were waiting for Netflix officially entering Polish market to watch all the famous series legally without a need to use VPN. And Netflix entered Polish market without Polish interface and Polish subtitles in movies. On the very beginning, you couldn’t even watch the flagship series “House of Cards.” It was like a message “Polish market is not our priority at all.”
In the first month of activity on the Polish market, Netflix had 337,700 RU. Then the number of users felt down to 73,700. According to Gemius Audience, the average number of users visiting Netflix in Poland was 113 000. From September – where in fact Netflix started in Poland for real (Reed Hastings met with Polish journalists, Netflix launched Polish interface) the number began to grow and reached 386 000 in December. So after the year, Netflix get what had on the very begging.
The total numbers may vary as Gemius research did not include users of mobile devices and smart TVs, which for viewing Netflix use applications, not web page. And we still don’t know the exact number of subscribers, what we heard is that every fifth user is paying for content.
I mentioned that Polish VOD market is crowded and it is. The most popular service on all platform is CDA.pl with the number of 7,5 million of RU monthly with 27,3% reach. But this was difficult to compare with Netflix or any other service with paid subscription as it’s not Netflix-style service. But even if we compare with the last from Top-5 which is owned by Cyfrowy Polsat application with paid content we can see the difference in numbers – the difference is over 2 million of users.
ShowMax just entered Polish and did it differently than Netflix. Before the launch, we had a campaign with Ewan McGregor and popular in Poland movie director Patryk Vega. They created short, less than 10 minutes movie which was a little preview of what we can expect in Showmax. People responsible for ShowMax in Poland announced that in future we could expect dedicated Polish production for ShowMax, also directed by Patryk Vega. And this is the problem – it will happen in the future.
While the subscription price encourages to try ShowMax, the offer unfortunately not. At least not today and especially if you already pay for HBO and Netflix. Good local and exclusive content is something that let ShowMax to win some audience, but it’s still future. Today the offer is average, and even Polish movies which are hard to find in other platforms are the ones that most of us already watched. There are already two questions that can influence the ShowMax future in Poland:
1/ for how long ShowMax will keep attractive low price
2/ when we can expect good and exclusive Polish series on ShowMax
When we know the answers we know the future of ShowMax. For today is just another VOD platform that can be treated as nice but not must-have as long as you have HBO and Netflix. ShowMax announced cooperation with already mentioned Patryk Vega and also other famous Polish movie director Wojciech Smarzowski give a chance for success in the future. The question is also how patient are subscribers and will they stay with the platform to the first exclusive series premier?