Although MultiChoice Group had been expected to hike the price of Showmax when it relaunched the platform, it turns out the opposite is true: the streamer’s price is being cut, at least in South Africa, by 10% for its lean-back experience.
The new Showmax, which MultiChoice unveiled on Monday, will cost R89/month, from R99/month previously, while adding a large slate of new content from partner Comcast and its subsidiaries, NBCUniversal and Sky. Mobile-only offerings are similarly aggressively priced.
12 February is the official launch date for the new Showmax, though new subscribers are already being directed to the new platform. Migration of existing customers will begin on 23 January and will be completed by 12 February.
The platform on which the new Showmax is running was built in partnership with developers at NBCUniversal, which owns the US-focused Peacock streaming platform.
The aggressive pricing suggests MultiChoice is prepared to invest to gain market share from streaming rivals like Netflix, whose plans start at R99/month for a lean-back experience.
TechCentral has been testing the new Showmax since last year (mainly using an Apple TV 4K set-top box), and can report that the platform is nippy – both in terms of content discovery and the time it takes for content to start playing. Streaming quality has also improved markedly.
“The Peacock platform is something very special,” said Marc Jury, CEO of MultiChoice South Africa and Showmax, in an interview with TechCentral ahead of Monday’s launch event. “Having spent a lot of time with their engineers, I can tell you that it’s something they pride themselves on.”
The platform is capable of handling both static content, like series and movies, and live sport. That’ll come in useful for the Premier League games Showmax will offer (mobile only).
Read: Showmax 2.0 launch details revealed – including a new logo
Content will be key to Showmax’s success, Jury said. Not only has it secured new programming through the Comcast stable, but it is also “doubling down” on local productions in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. Indeed, MultiChoice is positioning Showmax as “a streaming platform for Africa” with content “curated by Africans for Africans”.
“We will leverage our understanding of local markets, coupled with the number and scale of local productions. We will be very well positioned to … take a far stronger footing across the continent,” Jury said. “We want to grow scale as quickly as possible.”
Apart from the lean-back experience at R89/month, Showmax has several very aggressively priced tiers:
- R39/month for general entertainment on mobile;
- Premier League football for R69/month on mobile (will offer all 380 games); and
- A bundle of the above for R99/month.
“MultiChoice realises it has to disrupt itself,” said Jury. There are no plans to increase pricing until at least 2025, he added. Other sports, provided by MultiChoice-owned SuperSport, could be added later. “We will make those decisions as we go. We do plan to add additional sport over time.”
MultiChoice was also expected to announce a partnership deal with a local mobile operator, offering data bundles combined with Showmax. Details about this initiative will be announced in the next week.
Asked how long Showmax will continue to be a loss leader for MultiChoice, Jury told TechCentral: “We have a linear machine (DStv) and now a complementary OTT (Showmax) product. We are sweating the content across both platforms. Windowing becomes important, with shared costs on the Premier League, etc. Turning profitable [with Showmax] should happen in first three years [after relaunch].”
Read: A history of the decoders made by M-Net and DStv
From a technical perspective, the new Showmax is available in streaming quality of up to 1080p, up from 720p before. Although Showmax has tested 4K streams, it has no intention of offering 4K content yet, citing lack of demand from consumers in Africa. – © 2024 NewsCentral Media
AI-generated summary of this article
- Showmax 2.0: MultiChoice has launched a revamped streaming platform.
- New features: Showmax 2.0 will offer more content, a better user interface, more live sport streams and English Premier League.
Get breaking news alerts from TechCentral on WhatsApp