Market Insight

ShowMax expands footprint into Sub-Saharan Africa

June 13, 2016  | Subscribers Only

Constantinos Papavassilopoulos Constantinos Papavassilopoulos Principal Research Analyst, Service Providers & Platforms

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Subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) service ShowMax, has expanded its reach to 37 Sub-Saharan African countries. The online TV and movie service, which is a subsidiary of multinational media group Naspers, launched first in South Africa in August of 2015, with the remaining countries launching in May of 2016.

The South African ShowMax offering is priced at ZAR99 (US$6.60) per month, has differentiated local Afrikaans content (Mzansi Magic and kykNET) and operates two tiers; ShowMax Basic and ShowMax Premium.  ShowMax Basic is free and offers a selection of older television content­­­, including local and kids programming.  ShowMax Premium is the paid for tier, with a library of 400 movies and 850 complete seasons. ShowMax offers TV content from HBO, the BBC, and Hollywood studio titles.

The ShowMax offering in the other 36 Sub-Saharan countries is standard with a section devoted to the most common language in East and Central Africa, Kiswahili, and another section dedicated to content from the biggest movie industry in Africa, Nollywood.  The service outside of South Africa is also priced non-locally at US$7.99 US dollars per month.

The online service is available via web browsers, apps for both Android and iOS smartphones (which support both AirPlay and Chromecast) and tablets, Samsung and LG smart TVs, and Apple TV (fourth gen). The service allows for up to five devices to be registered to an account and simultaneous streaming or content downloads for delayed consumption. The service also features adaptive bitrate that monitors the broadband connection speed to prevent buffering by automatically adjusting the video stream and allowing the user to select the streaming and download quality to limit data usage.

In South Africa, ShowMax partnered with internet provider MWEB, offering consumers three months’ free ADSL and three months’ complimentary access to ShowMax. This offer was available until 31 March 2016 to customers who signed up for a 12-month subscription to one of MWEB’s ADSL service products (excluding 1GB, 2GB, 5GB Capped and Uncapped 1Mbps services). ShowMax also had a partnership with Telekom, which gave ShowMax subscribers, who are also Telekominternet customers, unlimited data when streaming the service. This promotion is scheduled to expire on June 30 2016. New and existing Telkom customers who signed up for the SmartHome Premium or Smartplan 100 plan were also gifted a free 30 day ShowMax trail (only a seven day trail is standard).

No other partnership have been announced at this time.

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