New video on demand service launched in SA

By Staff Writer
To reduce any major impact that Netflix’s entry into the South African market would have on its business Naspers has created and launched its own local video on demand service called ShowMax.
ShowMax offers subscribers more than 10,000 hours of viewing with a catalogue that includes internationally acclaimed series and movies, as well as local content.
In a statement released by ShowMax, it said: “At launch, ShowMax has content adding up to more than a year’s continuous viewing of series, movies, documentaries, a wide selection of children’s shows, and an array of classics. Complete box sets of heavyweight series such as Entourage, Game of Thrones, and The Wire form the foundation of the service, and ShowMax brings new shows such as “The Late Late Show with James Corden” to the South African audience.”
While there are already local video on demand services available in South Africa, for example FrontRow from MTN, Node from Altech and VIDI from Times Media, ShowMax contains a library of content much larger than what is currently available from local service providers, while also offering local and African content that is not available from international service providers.

Not only does ShowMax offer more content to subscribers, but the cost of subscription is also significantly less than that of Node, VIDI and FrontRow. (See table below.)
“We’re unashamedly ambitious in what we’re aiming to achieve with ShowMax. The ongoing change in viewing habits has given us the opportunity to build a video on demand powerhouse to feed the marathon viewing trend. We’ve got all the best content from Hollywood and beyond, but at the same time we also have the local content that consumers here expect. Importantly, we’re bringing this in at an attractive price, and doing this across more devices than ever before,” said John Kotsaftis, general manager of ShowMax South Africa.
ShowMax is offering users a seven day free trial where they can access the entire library to test the service. The cost of subscription is R99 per month, which gives subscribers the ability to access ShowMax on five different devices. “Two different video streams may be watched simultaneously on separate devices using the single monthly subscription,” explained ShowMax.
The streaming service can be used on a variety of smart devices, as long as there is an Internet connection. It is available through iOS and Android apps for use on mobile phones and tablets, as well as on laptop and desktop computers using a range of web browsers, and Samsung and LG smart TVs.
The market
Local competitor VIDI told Justmoney: “VIDI wishes all new entrants to the Video-on-Demand market well.  Just as the launch of competing cellular networks in South Africa grew a bigger pie for everyone as marketing spend increased and customer uptake accelerated, so it will be with the streaming video market.  Generally, VIDI is always improving its service by continually adding more content, reaching agreements with partners that can add value to the VIDI experience and finding more convenient ways to pay on both transaction and subscription-based offerings.”
Richard Boorman, head of communications for ShowMax, noted that customers do not need a DStv subscription to make use of ShowMax.
“ShowMax and DStv are separate services. We’re a separate operation to MultiChoice and report directly into Naspers.
“The conventional wisdom is that this type of service is complementary to linear TV services, but that seems to now be changing. I think it's fair to say that ShowMax will compete with DStv – it's a bit of a win-win for customers who get to choose the service or combination of services that's exactly right for them,” revealed Boorman.
Cost comparison of the different streaming services
Streaming service Monthly fee*
ShowMax R99
Node R299
FrontRow R119
*Prices accurate as of 24 August 2015, according to the companies’ websites.
For more information on ShowMax, click here.

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