MultiChoice-owned Showmax has announced the launch of a new service, Showmax Pro. The main difference between the normal Showmax offering and the new Showmax Pro is that the latter bundles the existing Showmax entertainment service with music channels, news, and live sport streaming from SuperSport.

These new additions on Showmax Pro include all English Premier League, Italian Serie A, Spanish La Liga, and South African PSL football matches as well as other live sports events including the IAAF Athletics, professional boxing, and the world’s biggest marathons. Showmax Pro will initially be rolled out to Kenya and Nigeria from 7 July 2020 with additional countries going live in the coming weeks.

“Showmax is an African video on demand service with many years’ experience operating on this continent. We’re local-first, which means listening to our customers and delivering African stories told in familiar voices as well as the best that Hollywood has to offer. Our local-first strategy is an advantage because it allows us to tailor our content, apps, packages, and partnerships specifically to what’s most important in Africa. The live sport test we ran on Showmax in conjunction with SuperSport has been well received, so that’s forming an integral part of our new Showmax Pro service," said Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice.

Is there genius behind the confusing video streaming strategy by Multichoice?

During June 2020, Multichoice announced that it will offer Netflix and Amazon Prime to its DStv subscribers. This was quite a peculiar announcement considering that the pan-African pay-TV company owns Showmax, a direct competitor to both Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Now, with the announcement of Showmax Pro, things become even more curious. This is because, in South Africa and Nigeria, DStv subscribers also have the ability to watch all DStv channels through the DStv Now app which is available through a web browser, iOS, Android, and many other operating systems.

Multichoice's DStv Now app available to South African customers.

However, in other markets where Multichoice operates in Africa, it sells a pay TV offering known as GOtv (e.g. in Kenya) and the GOtv app, as at the time of publishing this article, did not offer any streaming. This could perhaps explain why Multichoice is now starting to offer some of the channels available on its DStv and GOtv offerings on Showmax.

Could this also mean that Showmax will be the company's "one app to rule them all?"

One app for all Multichoice customers

It's not clear what the Multichoice video streaming strategy is. As previously mentioned, at one point the company viewed Netflix and Amazon Prime as competitors who had an unfair advantage (mainly because they didn't pay taxes in South Africa) to now incorporating them into their DStv offering.

One thing has always been clear over the years, thanks to their monopoly and licenses they had secured, Multichoice had an advantage as far as some popular TV shows (e.g. for some series that are available on DStv, they are not available on Netflix in South Africa due to licensing agreements) and live sports events go on the continent.

“What else have we learned about operating an internet video service in Africa? Mobile usage is mainstream, so having a one-size-fits-all big screen service may not be the best solution here. With the mobile-only version of Showmax Pro, anyone with a smartphone in sub-Saharan Africa will be able to get the best African content, the best of Hollywood, and all of the best sporting action. This is something no other service is doing and we think it’s a game changer,” concluded Ekdahl.

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