I recently did an interview with Susan Su at Reforge about how we’ve built a growth team at Showmax: https://www.reforge.com/blog/showmax-growth-team. I’m reposting the article here – thanks Susan!
Netflix took three years to launch in its second, closely adjacent market of Canada after first launching streaming to US subscribers in 2007. From 2010 till now, Netflix has been gradually expanding its international footprint, and is now technically available in almost every country in the world outside of North Korea, Syria, and a few others.
By contrast, since its service debut in 2015, Showmax, another subscription video-on-demand company, has expanded to 70+ countries or territories around the world, many — but not all — of them in Africa. For example, the company made headlines when it launched in Poland just 18 months after its initial rollout in South Africa. As in its other country markets, Showmax’s efforts in Poland focused on local hits and original content that it’s commissioning just for that market.
Showmax is an interesting business because it hasn’t followed your typical playbook of international expansion for growth. Instead, it’s looking for regional markets where people are already paying to consume their favorite local content, and betting that it can divert some of that spend towards a Showmax subscription.
It’s also just doing everything faster, and sooner. A lot of US companies enjoy a domestic market that’s big enough to tide them over for at least a few years before they start looking overseas, but Showmax has jumped straight into the deep end by moving into multiple, dissimilar country markets and producing original content that’s meant for local audiences (more Tali’s Wedding Diary, less Orange Is the New Black), in less than two years after its initial launch.
More interesting for the Reforge audience, the company’s doing all of this with a single, central growth team that serves markets as different as Poland and Kenya. Carving a growth team out of a more traditional org structure isn’t simple, and less so if your internal ‘customers’ are on different continents, with different payment processors, different economies, and distinct content.
So how has Showmax managed to build a unified growth team that sits in Europe, while rolling out its service offering in 70+ regions around the world?
We spoke with Barron Ernst, Showmax’s Chief Product Officer, about building an international growth team from scratch, and how the team balances local optimizations with global efforts to drive subscription growth:
1. One specific way a centralized growth team can support dozens of country markets
2. What it means to build “multilateral” growth
3. How growth brings regional teams together
4. The tactics of knowledge-sharing across multiple countries, teams, and goals
5. The secret to adapting experiments and optimizations across 70+ markets
6. How Showmax decides new country markets
7. How brand marketing and growth play together
More details below!