I have called it Fish Bait Acquisition Construct: they give you something free, and you come for it, and in days, they swallow you. Netflix is using MultiChoice (operator of DStv and GOtv) as a distributor of its content in Africa. That makes sense, as not many Africans have the money to pay for bandwidth to binge. But while that redesign is happening, MultiChoice is plotting a huge offense: Showmax Pro, which will offer regular Showmax video-on-demand in addition to live TV like music, news and sports from SuperSport. That means, you can get all Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, boxing, IAAF Athletics, etc online. The product launched yesterday.
With this playbook, DStv takes it to Netflix, knowing that most people will come for live sports, and in the process provides viability in the boring Showmax. More so, by distributing live sports online, MultiChoice will reduce its marginal cost when compared to selling boxes for satellite TV with the associated human labour required for setting up the systems.
This is an evolution for MultiChoice and can in principle leave Nigeria while still serving Nigeria! Yes, it does not need to be in Nigeria to sell online content since Netflix is growing its base in Nigeria with no physical presence in the nation. Yes, take it to the Nigerian regulators: we can run this from South Africa via Showmax Pro if you continue to clip us, and our customers will get all via the web.
Of course, MultiChoice is not leaving but with this online live sports, it can build a business of the future which no regulator can clip easily. Simply, pay for African TV rights license and leave a physical presence in any country that does not want to accommodate it, and serve the citizens via the web. Forbes explains the pricing.
African video service Showmax is launching a live sports streaming service in Kenya and Nigeria that includes football matches from the UK, Italy and South Africa. Sports, especially soccer, is a major drawcard for television viewership globally, but especially in football-mad Africa.
Showmax already offers a streaming service of entertainment, music, and news; but is tapping into the soccer content from SuperSport, the sports arm of its parent company, MultiChoice.
Supersport is a decades-old sporting service, that is akin to Africa’s ESPN or Sky Sports, and is included MultiChoice’s DStv satellite service. Sports and news are seen as the strong remaining drawcards for subscription services, so it shows MultiChoice is thinking strategically. Including live sport in the offering, after live news started earlier this year, is a smart play to enhance the value of a Showmax Pro subscription while holding off Netflix.
Showmax Pro, which will cost from $8 a month in Nigeria and $10 in Kenya and offers a mobile option too, will start streaming on 7 July. The football offering will include all the games from the UK’s Premier League, Italy’s Serie A and La Liga, and South Africa’s Premier Soccer League.
Showmax Pro could see positive traction as Google Loon begins commercial operations in Kenya. Possibly, we will expect broadband costs to drop in Africa as a result of Google Loon as the service deploys across the continent.
Alphabet’s Loon division, which uses floating balloons to provide internet, has today launched its first commercial service in Kenya. In a blog post announcing the news, Loon’s CEO Alastair Westgarth said that the 4G LTE service will be provided to Telkom Kenya subscribers via a fleet of around 35 balloons, covering an area of around 50,000 square kilometers across western and central areas of the country, including its capital, Nairobi.
It’s a significant step for Loon, which started as a moonshot project in Alphabet’s X division before being spun out into its own company in 2018. The company’s balloons have already provided internet connectivity in the wake of disasters, like in Puerto Rico in 2017 after Hurricane Maria or in Peru after an earthquake in 2019, but never as part of a large-scale commercial deployment.