MTN is rebranding its MTN FrontRow service as VU and dropping prices in a bid to try and lure more customers to its subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) service.
MTN FrontRow that is now VU (pronounced "view") is clinging on in a South African SVoD market quickly getting saturated and where broadband data costs remain stubbornly high and already claimed its first victim in the form of Altron's misguided Altech Node which became the first major failure.
Then there's The Times Media Group's VIDI that's already struggling after it launched at the end of last year with Tiso Blackstar that is disinvesting from the venture.
Meanwhile Netflix is set to launch sometime in 2016 in South Africa.
China's PCCW Global is operating the SVoD service ONTAPtv.com since September and Naspers' ShowMax that launched in August is expected to expand within months beyond South Africa's borders into other countries.
Besides the name change, MTN's VU that has content from six of the big Hollywood studios, is dropping its prices to now match rivals like ShowMax and ONTAPtv.com and all existing MTN FrontRow subscribers will be moved to VU.
VU streams content in standard definition (SD) and five devices can be linked to one VU account. VU subscribers can pay by credit card, have the amount due deducted from their prepaid airtime or bill it to their MTN account.
The new VU now has three packages: MaxVU (R99 per month), PremiereVU (no monthly subscription; individual movie rental ranging between R15 and R27), and WeekendVU (R39 per weekend, with access to movies rentals).
MTN rival Vodacom that is in talks with Netflix, is expected to announce its own VOD and integrated SVoD service within the first half of 2016.