Vodacom spokesperson Tshepo Ramodibe confirmed talks between Naspers and Vodacom regarding a ShowMax VOD streaming deal and told Bloomberg that "these discussions are ongoing" and that its part of Vodacom's "business strategy to add new service offerings, including content".
Naspers is creating and launching ShowMax to pre-empt the arrival of the global streaming subscription service Netflix, which told TV with Thinus that it will be in South Africa before the end of 2016.
While Naspers has not responded to a media enquiry last week and PR company Atmosphere Communications handling the ShowMax contract hasn't issued any information to the press, information is already leaking impacting the new brand – the word ShowMax apparently an amalgam of the names Showtime and Cinemax both known as premium TV providers in America.
ShowMax will be officially announced on Wednesday in Johannesburg, likely with a free ShowMax Basic option giving people free but limited access, as well as a ShowMax Premium subscription offering that costs R99 per month for unlimited use.
Showmax' cost of R99 – a psychological consumer number – is interestingly compared to the basic monthly subscription fee of R699 for MultiChoice's DStv Premium package. In America Netflix and Amazon subscribers pay around $10 for the streaming service, compared to between $80 and $90 per month for a premium satellite or cable pay-TV service.
While ShowMax from Naspers will be direct competition for Naspers' MultiChoice operating the DStv satellite pay-TV service in South Africa, it also does something else: weakening Netflix' available offering.
ShowMax is sowing up SVOD rights which wouldn't be available to Netflix when the global internet subscription service launches in South Africa. Netflix' offering differs from country to country, depending on available licensing rights.
ShowMax is set to show content through adaptive streaming in high definition (HD) (720p) and says subscribers should have a minimum internet speed of 2 megabits per second (Mbps) but that an uncapped 4Mbps connection or faster is recommended for the best experience.
ShowMax will work on personal computers (through web browsers), iPhones and iPad running iOS7 and higher, Android phones and tablet running Andriod 4.1.0 or higher; Samsung Smart TVs from 2012 to 2015, Samsung Tizen Smart TVs from 2015, LG NetCast Smart TVs from 2012 – 2014 and LG WebOS Smart TVs from 2014 and 2015 through a ShowMax app.
ShowMax subscribers will likely be allowed to watch on two devices simultaneously and will be allowed to register up to 5 devices.