Globally, Pay-tv has from time to time continued to evolve, a change that can be greatly attributed to the advancement in technology and the demand to serve a dynamic audience that seeks out for content that captures their interests and preferences when it comes to television entertainment.
In early 2000, digital television transmission greatly increased in popularity coupled with other technological and broadcast developments that aided the transition from standard TV, to High definition TV, later paving the ground for smart as well as internet TVs that we have today, enabling viewers to have a wide range of offerings to choose from including live streaming videos, videocasts, movies, edutainment, live sports entertainment, movie downloads, save for later, among many other things.
MultiChoice Uganda through the DStv and GOtv channels is best known for delivering captivating TV experiences to customers as “the home of entertainment”. To this end, the brand has continuously sought avenues to stay ahead of the park in providing and designing entertainment solutions that surpass the requirements of the market and its demand. This is clearly evidenced by the diverse offering set to encompass different age groups of our audiences.
Employing new age technology and integrating it with the capabilities at our disposal with internet connectivity is positively influencing our positioning, programming delivery and necessitating us to continually broaden our scope to remain relevant while serving our vast customers across the country and the global markets where MultiChoice is operating.
In 2016, we launched Showmax, our internet-based TV streaming service in some of our key markets across Africa. The service is accessible on internet-connected devices like tablets, laptops, smartphones, gaming consoles, media players, and smart TVs. At the time, there was minimal access to the internet by most countries which we forecasted to grow post-launch and investment we believed to be beneficial to Ugandans.
Relatedly, according to a 2018 Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) report, internet penetration in Uganda stood at 47.4%. Whereas a SES June 2018 report showed that 49% of Ugandans had access to a TV (both pay-tv and free to air (FTA)) with approx. 2.7 million TV homes. The UCC report further shows that Pay-Tv subscriptions stood at 1.7 million, an indication that there is a projected growth for these figures.
With this in mind, MultiChoice Group added Showmax to its range of services; a product meant to offer real time TV experience regardless of the location as long as one has subscribed to the service and has internet connectivity that aids accessing the content therein. Showmax is an internet-based subscription video on demand service (SVOD), which permits subscribers have access to an extensive catalogue of TV shows and movies delivered from both world-class international content as well as the best of specialized local content. Upon sign-up and creation of a Showmax profile and related login credential through the service’s website, the content can be accessible across a wide range of devices from Apple Devices, Android Devices Android TV devices, Google Cast, Smart TV’s and Gaming Consoles like Xbox one and PlayStation 4 (SA only).
Users can create up to 6 profiles with the option for parental control for the members of their household under a single account with each profile having its own watch lists and personalized recommendations based on its own viewing behavior, while subtitles for some movies are available.
In addition; the platform has a number of features that give the viewer options to work with, including; Streaming across up to 2 out 5 registered devices, downloading content which remains available for viewing for up to 48 hours and stored for 30 days, ‘Watch list’ which allows a return to shows at a later time, ‘Recently watched and resume’ which Showmax stores a record of. Additionally, features like ‘Continuous Play’, ‘Bandwidth capping’ are available to help you manage data consumption.
Adaptability to global trends is very key for us to remain relevant to the dynamic market by embracing what can best apply to the ever-changing consumer needs in a fast-paced world, which MultiChoice Group has harnessed as a going concern to offer this and more.
With the advent and prolonged stay and impact of COVID-19, it is very clear now for everyone that digital integration dictates the current model of television delivery with individuals downloading TV apps onto their mobile phones, or live streaming their favorite movies, series, blockbusters, among others that Showmax is presenting itself as the perfect blend and partner for all TV entertainment enthusiasts.
Showmax, which we officially rolled out in May in Uganda will see new subscribers receive a 14 day free trial to try out the service. Subscription goes for as low as $7.99 (approx. Ushs. 30,000) payable via Visa, MasterCard or PayPal credit and does not include data or internet. For our customers who opt to make their payments through MyDStv and MyGOtv, we will be offering them a month free.
In addition, to thank our DStv premium subscribers for their continued support, we will be giving them this service as a value add. We hope that this will give them more viewing options and allow them to experience the various avenues of entertainment we are making available.
This opinion was written by Hassan Saleh, Managing Director – MultiChoice Uganda