Naspers Names Bhatia to Run Finance at Netflix Rival Showmax

  • Bhatia brings HBO, NBCUniversal experience as Showmax expands
  • Showmax available in 65 countries globally, started August

Naspers Ltd. 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 Inc., which is also growing in the region.

Bhatia has previously worked for Time Warner Inc.’s HBO and Comcast Corp.’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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