- After one year of testing, Showmax, the streaming platform operated by MultiChoice, has announced the launch of a new service, Showmax Pro.
- Showmax Pro is a hybrid platform that offers regular Showmax Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) in addition to live TV programmings.
- Showmax subscription prices are localised in both countries; meaning the subscription amount was fixed in the local currency rather than a universal dollar amount which applies to all countries.
After one year of test running, Showmax, the streaming platform operated by MultiChoice, has announced the launch of a new service, Showmax Pro. The streaming platform offers offers regular Showmax Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD), in addition to live TV programmings such as music, news, and live sport streaming from SuperSport.
“Showmax Pro features all Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, and PSL games as well as a wide range of live sports events including IAAF Athletics, professional boxing, and the world’s biggest marathons,” Multichoice told TechCabal.
The new service was launched in Nigeria and Kenya on July 7 and will roll out over the next six to eight weeks in more countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the company disclosed.
Prices are localised in both countries; meaning the subscription amount is fixed in the local currency rather than a universal dollar amount which applies to all countries.
So in Nigeria, Showmax Pro will retail for ₦6,300 ($16.25) and ₦3,200 ($8.26) for Showmax Pro Mobile. While in Kenya, Showmax Pro and Showmax Pro Mobile will retail for Ksh 2,100 ($19.68) and Ksh 1,050 ($9.84) respectively.
MultiChoice has been playing catch up on the digital media front for the better part of the last decade. It did not have a streaming service for the first four years of the 2010s, given the fact that YouTube and Netflix were scaling and becoming dominating the video content scene.
MultiChoice entered the streaming market in 2014 with DStv Now, the online companion to the decoder pay-TV service. Around that time, early development was experienced in the adoption of smartphones and the Internet. In 2018, the continent had 302 million smartphone users and 239 mobile internet subscribers.
However, over 50 per cent of all mobile broadband links are 2G. This has affected the quality of internet experience for users. Despite operating streaming services, Multichoice has focused on the decoder-based business of DStv. This model has provided much of its revenue for years.
When Netflix launched in Africa in 2016, it became vulnerable to DStv’s decoder business. The internet-powered Netflix gained about 400,000 subscribers in Africa between 2016 and 2018, mainly in South Africa, Multichoice’s home market. It was reportedly having 152,588 subscribers in the country in 2019.
Netflix also revealed an original content budget of $8 billion, aimed at different regions including Africa. Since 2018, it has acquired rights to famous Nollywood movies such as October 1, The Wedding Party, Lion Heart, Up North, among several others.
Also, IrokoTV, the Nigerian streaming network, has been another prominent (SVOD) rival for most of the past decade.
Although DStv has a large pool of original content and continues to attract new subscribers every year, the Netflix challenge has intensified.
In 2018, the majority shareholder of Multichoice, Naspers announced that it would withdraw from the company in an IPO that was completed in February 2019. Without Naspers’ overriding presence, Multichoice started to chart a new direction on the streaming front. It started evaluating live sports content on Showmax in June 2019, saying it aimed to make the service a priority.
Where Showmax Shines
Essentially, Showmax is a Netflix clone offering video-on-demand, the initial concept never included live TV. DStv Now features Live TV and sports programming and is available only to subscribers who own DStv decoders; that’s a small pool of fewer than 20 million subscribers. It has greatly restricted the growth of the Multichoice streaming service.
In comparison, Showmax subscription is a stand-alone option. By adding live TV to Showmax’s offer, Multichoice can expand its scope, particularly because localised online TV services are uncommon in Africa.
The service also has little geographical restriction and is available to users in Africa, Europe and all the way down to Oceania countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
In Francophone Africa the service was absent, enabling French OTT, like Canal+, to move in and claim market share. Since Showmax is not limited by location, it may enter and compete in those markets.