The rapid advances in digital technology in Africa have created new opportunities to innovate on TV content delivery. Digital disruption seen in mobile devices is changing the way Africans access TV content. As a result, Over The Top (OTT) viewing, which streams content directly to viewers via the internet onto their devices, has grown exponentially in recent years.
Niclas Ekdahl, Chief Executive Officer of Connected Video for the MultiChoice Group, shared the Group’s future plans for its video-on-demand service at the MultiChoice Southern Africa Media Showcase, held in Johannesburg on 22 November 2018. He stated that Africa’s market readiness is dependent on key drivers such as smartphone penetration, cost of mobile data and fixed broadband penetration.
“The data challenge will determine the speed of uptake as the majority of data connectivity across Africa is mobile-based, and the cost of that mobile data is in many cases still prohibitive. We see this improving over time, as fiber and other solutions like fixed Long Term Evolution (LTE), which delivers the fastest connection for a mobile internet experience, become more prevalent. We also see the telcos coming to the party with more affordable mobile data bundles, which is key to mass OTT adoption across the Continent”, Ekdahl indicated.
He continued to say that it is an exciting time to be in OTT in Africa, as it opens up a dual growth opportunity for pay-TV and Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) subscribers. “We want to make it effortless for customers to enjoy the best content anytime, anywhere”.
Through its Connected Video division, MultiChoice offers two services – DStv Now and Showmax – each with its own distinct positioning. DStv Now is ‘TV Everywhere’ with live and catch-up content on the go. MultiChoice continues to innovate its DStv Now offering to make it user-friendly for customers to watch the latest sports and TV shows on their smartphone, tablet or laptop via the DStv website and the free DStv Now app for Android and iOS devices.
Showmax is a standalone SVOD service that draws on the content strength of the group to provide “all-you-can-eat” access to a huge lineup of movies, series, animation and much more. Showmax is accessible across the continent to online subscribers that pay with credit card or PayPal. These customers can enjoy Showmax on a wide range of devices from smart TVs and computers to smartphones and tablets.
“Viewers place greater value on what they are watching than simply the platform they use to watch on,” explains Ekdahl. “As the digital trend continues in the future, we believe it is content along with these new delivery channels that will continue to drive the industry forward. In fact, our experience has been that customers happily sign up for more than one service as long as each service gives them something unique”, he concluded.
MultiChoice is tapping into this theory by continuing to focus on telling Africa’s stories, as well as bringing stories from across the globe to Africa within the context of current technology.