South African mobile communications company Vodacom has pulled the plug on its on-demand video streaming service, Video Play.

According to an observation by MyBroadband, users trying to access the service are met with a message reading, “Please take note that as of 30 June 2022, this service will no longer be available. You can continue watching free videos on Video Play until such time. Thank you for your support.”

Image source: MyBroadband

Video Play, which Vodacom launched in August 2015 and recently made free, had over 1 million downloads on the Google Play Store alone. The company had in 2019 secured the rights to live-stream the English FA Cup on the service as well as securing rights to broadcast American film production studio company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)’s content in 2020.

The streaming service joins a lengthy list of South African streaming services by mobile network operators to be discontinued. First up was MTN’s VU, originally called MTN FrontRow, which was launched in December 2014 and discontinued in May 2017.

Next up was Cell C’s Black streaming service, which was launched in November 2017 and shut down in November 2019, with the company CEO, Craigie Stevenson, admitting that investing in the streaming service was not the right move for Cell C as the company did not have the resources to compete in that environment.

Currently remaining streaming services by mobile network operators include Telkom’s TelkomONE which was launched in November 2020 in partnership with the national broadcaster SABC as well as MTN’s second bet in the content streaming arena, eVOD, which was launched in August 2021.

As competition in the on-demand content streaming space continues to get tougher, with even giants like Netflix feeling the pinch, it is no surprise to see relatively new entrants counting their losses and exiting. 

On the other hand, it will be interesting to see how those who remain and launch new services, like MTN and Telkom, will manage to navigate the competitive landscape. 

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