Launched in August 2015, Nasper’s backed ShowMax has officially launched internet TV services to 36 countries across sub-Saharan Africa with a $ 7.99 per month for unlimited viewing with approximately fifteen thousand TV show episodes and movies, totaling almost ten thousand hours of viewing.
The service includes a Kiswahili language section and a Nollywood section, as well as an African Film section that pulls together classic movies from across the continent.
According to Barron Ernst, Chief Product Officer for ShowMax, “The speed and cost of connectivity are significant hurdles for any internet-based service in Africa. Getting it right means you’ve got to do much more than just flick a switch.
“We’ve been busy testing the service in key locations across the continent and optimising our delivery network. Perhaps more importantly, we’ve adapted our apps to address the needs of consumers in Africa, introducing features like downloads for viewing TV shows and movies when not connected.”
To address some of this challenges, Barron says ShowMax adaptive bitrate streaming that monitors connection speeds and automatically adjusts video stream resolution to avoid buffering. A download functionality to save up to 25 TV shows and movies in total to Android and iOS smartphones and tablets for viewing offline. A user-selectable download quality to limit data usage, user-selectable streaming quality to limit data usage and automatic size reduction of static pictures delivered to mobile devices.
According to the GSMA, around 160 million connected smartphones were in use in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015, set to rise to more than 500 million by 2020. This explosive growth combined with the increasing availability of WiFi services, the rollout of FTTH in urban centres, and the rollout of other high-speed fixed mobile options is driving the take-up of video on demand services.
“The growth potential of the African market is huge, and we’re not the only internet TV service looking to meet that demand. The difference is that we’re not simply cutting and pasting an existing model from elsewhere, and instead have built a product and content selection designed specifically for Africa,” concludes Ernst.
ShowMax is offering a risk-free seven-day trial. In addition to operating across sub-Saharan Africa, the ShowMax platform is also being used to supply kykNET International to 28 countries worldwide. In total, ShowMax provides services in 65 countries.
The new sub-Saharan countries that ShowMax has launched in are:
- Cabo Verde
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Saint Helena
- Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
- Sao Tome and Principe