Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Cell C's new video-on-demand service, black, adds Fox' FOX+ VOD service and a selection of its existing channels in Africa.

Cell C's little publicised new subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) attempt, black, has acquired the streaming rights for 21st Century FOX TV by adding FOX+, Fox's video-on-demand platform.

There's been no statement from either Cell C or Fox Networks Group Africa on Tuesday regarding FOX+.

In September at its latest upfront event, FNG Africa did pre-announce that it is working on rolling out its own FOX+ and NatGeo+ online video-on-demand streaming services in South Africa as well.

Since users have to pay for data - as they have for Netflix in South Africa, Naspers' Showmax, ONTAPtv.com and others - Cell C's black means that paying for expensive data to stream shows, and sport, makes black pretty much the same cost as for DStv or a monthly pay-TV subscription.

Not all FOX content will be available on FOX+ but will include shows from channels like the FOX News Channel, Baby TV, FOX Sports and FOX Sports 2 currently available as linear channels on StarTimes Media SA and On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat.

It will also include the FOX channel, FOX Life and National Geographic channels that are available on MultiChoice's DStv platform and StarSat.

The deal means episodes from shows like The Walking Dead, Empire, Modern Family and Homeland will be made available on FOX+ for black, although the latest episodes and seasons will likely still have to be broadcast on DStv and StarSat first.

No word yet on when black as Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos' latest plan, becomes commercially operational or what other actual specific content is going to be available on the service.

Both VIDI and Altech's Node failed and shut down due to low uptake of these SVOD services.

The lack of communication about the content and what people can really specifically watch, means that consumers - who do go out and buy set-top boxes but access to content - never knew what was available, and never were persuaded to try these services.

It remains to be seen if this "black" - with Cell C that is similarly and oddly punting it as a generic service instead of what it has and what's actually on it - will attract customers, or if ti will go the way of VIDI, Node and the dodo.