Wouldn’t you agree with us that you would want to watch content when you want, whenever you want and however you want? It’s the human want for convenience and choice. Naspers through its subsidiaries Multichoice and Showmax, iRokoTV and Econet Media are both racing to empower users to take control of their entertainment experience.
Econet media with its “internet-enabled decoder” or more accurately internet streaming box dubbed Kwese Play has partnered with US video streaming service provider Netflix to provide customers in South Africa with an exclusive, three-month free Netflix subscription. For ZAR 1,599, first-time customers in S/A will enjoy more than 100 streaming channels in addition to Netflix.
Econet says their partnership covers the whole of sub Saharan Africa. So they expect to roll out the service in other African countries in the coming months allowing customers to pay for internet video streaming services using their local currency.
Econet says their service will be customizable. So users will be able to build their own bouquets and pay ONLY for those channels they want unlike what we have experienced with Multichoice’s DSTV.
Meanwhile Multichoice is responding to Econet Media by enabling DSTV premium customers in South Africa to have access to ShowMax as well at no additional cost. ShowMax is Naspers’ internet streaming service available on mobile, web and smart TV. ShowMax unlike Kwese Play doesn’t come with its own physical device, but is distributed as an App on the DStv Now app, Web, TV, Android and iOS stores. It’s very likely that Multichoice will roll out this service across other markets in Africa in the coming months.
At the same time, iAfrikan reports that Multichoice is set to launch a pay-per-view (PPV) service in Nigeria. The new service will enable subscribers to pay to watch specific show on demand. Multichoice has been slack on rolling out this kind of service due to technical constraints despite users’ demands.
The Video-on-demand market in Africa is beginning to get competitive. iRoko TV, the Nollywood content internet streaming service is also looking to expand to Kenya and Ghana according to Techmoran. iRokoTV not only uses web and mobile-connected devices to distribute its content, but also offline Kiosks which the company has been experimenting for data-free offline content downloads and customer education. This is especially important in a continent that experiences very high data rates.
Last month Facebook launched “Watch”, a new platform for shows on Facebook. The social giant wants to personalize your entertainment experience by helping you discover new shows, organized around what your friends and communities are watching. Although it’s currently available only US, with over 100 million users in Africa, Facebook might soon extend its streaming service to users in Africa.
While multichoice has dominated the entertainment industry in Africa via its digital satellite Pay TV service, it’s getting competition from Kwese, iRokoTV, Youtube, Facebook and Netflix. But it seems the pioneer of premium content in Africa isn’t using its first-mover advantage well enough to cement its position on the continent.
Image: showmax blog