Naspers’ video-on-demand streaming service ShowMax has been officially launched in South Africa. The arrival of the service has probably been one of the worst-kept secrets over the last couple of weeks, as details of the service’s existence and what it will offer have been discovered online.
ShowMax will launch with a two-tier approach to video consumption: a free version where you can only watch a limited selection of films or television series; and a R99 a month version where you can watch as much as you want. There’s also a seven-day trial that gives you a taste of the service, for free, giving you plenty of time to decide if it’s for you.
The arrival of ShowMax is directly aimed at getting the first foot in the door before international streaming service Netflix launches in the country. South Africa is due to get it sometime before the end of next year, as Netflix has already made its intentions clear about entering the SA market.
In terms of content, ShowMax General Manager John Kotsaftis said that the company has taken a long time to put the content together. Some of the television series that you can expect include Game of Thrones, Dexter, House of Cards and Sherlock, to name but a few.
There are about 750 complete television series, and the service has about 11 000 hours of view time available in total, including movies. Kotsaftis also told journalists at the launch event that ShowMax will also commission its own original TV shows, much like Netflix currently does in the US.
But the biggest appeal of the service, and the one that could win it the contest it’s in with other VOD services like Vidi and MTN’s FrontRow, is that subscribers only have to pay the monthly fee of R99 to consume as much media as they want. For the other services, you have to pay to watch each film, which is anywhere from R15 for older movies to around R27 for the latest blockbusters in addition to a monthly fee.
Another ShowMax drawcard is its huge selection of Afrikaans films and television series. Most of them come from MultiChoice’s stable (which is owned by Naspers) but a selection of older shows from SABC is also available.