Showmax, the streaming video-on-demand service owned by MultiChoice, is betting on affordable pricing and a mobile-first focus to drive subscriptions ahead of the February relaunch of its streaming service Showmax. At a presser held in Lagos on Monday morning, the company shared an advance view of the app, its new brand identity and subscription tiers with a room filled with around 50 content creators, journalists and film stars.

The new Showmax, which represents one of the company’s most significant investments for the future, has three subscription tiers: entertainment, Premier League and a bundle subscription of entertainment and the Premier League. 

The mobile-only subscription for the Premier League, an incredibly popular sporting offering in Africa, will cost ₦2,900, ten times cheaper than the premium subscription for DStv, its cable TV offering. 

A mobile-only entertainment subscription will cost ₦1,200 a month, while a mobile bundle of entertainment and the Premier League will only cost ₦3,200. 

“Nobody understands this market like we do,” said Arinola Shobande, the marketing manager of Showmax, referring not only to the product’s pricing but the “data economy” built into it. “You can watch Showmax for 24 hours for just 1GB of data,” Arinola added, addressing one of the biggest obstacles to streaming on the African continent. 

Given its extensive investment into Showmax, MultiChoice is targeting 50 million subscribers in the next five years. In March, it inked a partnership with NBCUniversal, and the new app will use NBCU’s Peacock technology platform. The company will pay R247 million (~$13 million) to license that technology for seven years and give NBCU a 30% stake in a new holding group.

The relaunch of Showmax coincides with increasing competition in Africa’s SVOD sector. Foreign players like Netflix and Amazon Prime are increasing their spend on the continent, partnering with local studios to churn out original content. 

Yet, Multichoice will be buoyed by two considerations. First, a recent research from Omdia Research, a tech research firm, showed that Showmax is Africa’s video streaming market leader with 1.8 million subscribers. The second is its library of original content, which is likely the largest in Africa. With popular entertainment offerings like Big Brother Nigeria and original shows like Wura, the company believes that nobody understands the market as it does. 

In 2024, it will launch 21 new originals as it prepares for a February 23 launch. The new app will be available for download by January 23.

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