ShowMax Deluxe is Naspers’ leap frog

*ShowMax Deluxe does not exist, it is a proposed concept


{UPON} its announcement to enter the fray of subscription video on demand (SVOD) at the over the top (OTT) content market ShowMax’s pre-narrative was told from two divergent but parallel strands. Naspers was pregnant with a subscription video on demand service. Upon its launch, it would offer subscription video on demand service via streaming – which was nothing new considering what was going on. Parallel to that narrative strand, a story was told of how it would compete with MultiChoice’s DStv, a satellite based pay television service. That narrative strand has pretty much remained the same following its activation a couple of weeks ago

Image Source: http://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/companies-and-deals/naspers-turns-attention-from-china-to-leapfrog-netflix-in-africa/
Image Source: http://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/companies-and-deals/naspers-turns-attention-from-china-to-leapfrog-netflix-in-africa/

In its terrific offering, just like an interesting plot-promise of an action movie trailer, it promised straight punches to make way as it entered the arena and mowing uppercuts to affirm who is immovably dominant in the bullpen. To experience its glory you will need an average speed of about 2MB per second or around 4MB per second or hire. Let’s delve deeper

Infrastructure

You will need a smart phone or tablet to stream content via iOS or Android [blackberry was excluded when the announcement was made]). You could also use pc to stream directly from the web browser or smart tv such as Samsung or LG through the ShowMax app.

Cost:

  • ShowMax Premium will hit your pocket at around R 99.00 per month tap for unlimited access
  • ShowMax Basic is free but like all things free it comes with limitations. This is just to give you a taste of what is on offer. Remember MNet open time?
  • There is a 7 day trial that you can sign up for without any obligation.

Content:

  • There are around 750 Television series
  • 850 complete seasons
  • 19 000 individual episodes
  • 11 000 hours of viewing content adding up to a year of series, movies, documentaries and *classic programming from the vaults of the SABC.

Basically what we have here is a binging spectacle. Blessed are those who have time and money for a monumental content consumption. The star that that is attached on the word ‘classic’ in a passage above is important here. I will come back to it some time later. VIDI subsequently responded by having talks with Samsung to develop a streaming TV app for its service while MTNFrontRow remained mum. Perhaps it will rock up a strategy in due course

On one of the previous jots1 that recently graced this blog I theorized just how at a certain point the oakes at Naspers R&D Headquarters might have looked untroubled though with a keen interested at what their competitors were up to when VOD took off in this country. History has confirmed that they did bid their time and it was for a good reason. In 2009 the Executive Chairman of MultiChoice Mr. Nolo Letele2 was asked where he saw DStv in the face of new competition with regards to the then newbie TopTV and other looming competitors, he intimated that internet companies will one day overtake the television and that future battles will be fought online. We are in the midst of that warfare halve a decade later. Now to return to the star; what Naspers has is what will make it more desirable in South Africa, that is South African content especially from the SABC archives. Nostalgia is the new opium to a generation that grew parallel with the development of television in this country. Today those people form part of the working force. And why not turn them into cash cows as they bow to the modern fireplace?

Metaphors aside. With ShowMax Naspers has responded with a mother of all weapons to battled it out online but only one thing deters it, that is the implication of data costs to the consumer. Ordinary people who might be interested in streaming might be discouraged by the cost of data. This could see them reboot their dishes. This could result in ShowMax witnessing subscriber retention shrinkage once the honeymoon is over.

Image source: http://willstuart.com/doodles/2012/11/25/set-top-box-designs
Image source: http://willstuart.com/doodles/2012/11/25/set-top-box-designs

History has confirmed that Naspers did bid its time and it was for a good reason


There is a solution but it is not for pure minimalists. Imagine your smart television set connected via HDM cable to a set-top box that downloads and updates unlimited content from ShowMax Premier periodically without the subscriber going online. A sort of a bundled up subscription video on demand service that does not hurt your wallet. Like DStv Catch Up but freed from its association with DStv Premium entrapment. A 3G embedded device with an options to connect via your satellite dish or LAN (ADSL) cable or Wifi to synchronize your content.

I propose to call such a set-top box ShowMaxBox and it can be offered free of charge on a differentiated subscription package called ShowMax Deluxe with a subscription fee of around R 300p/m. Such a device will give ShowMax SVOD service the advantage of being affordable on the one hand and on the hand help pave a way in the infrastructural development of its online SVOD service such that as data costs drop and become bearable through present negotiations with telecommunication companies the consumer can make an easy transition to full blown internet based television perhaps in 2017 when Naspers investment in ShowMax start to bear fruits

Notes

  1. See the Dawn of OTT – SVOD War
  2. See Nine question for Nolo Letele, Article source http://www.multichoice.co.za/multichoice/view/multichoice/en/page47786?oid=74294&sn=Detail+2009&pid=44232

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© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2015

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