Monday, February 1, 2016

BREAKING. VIDI fails: Times Media Group's streaming service quietly shuts down as the next victim in South Africa's video-on-demand battle.

VIDI has become South Africa's second commercial video-on-demand (VOD) failure with the Times Media Group that has abruptly shut down the streaming service just a year and 4 months after it launched in September 2014.

There's been no announcement of the closure of the struggling VIDI, with the website saying VIDI is no longer available.

It leaves Naspers' ShowMax, China's PCCW Global and its, MTN's relaunched VU, as well as Netflix South Africa as the remaining subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) players who all arose quickly within the past year and already saw Altron's disastrous Altech Node crash and burn in October 2015.

In the same month last year, investor group Tiso Blackstar which has full ownership of the Times Media Group, announced that it is pulling out of VIDI and said that that the purple SVOD service that was launched with great fanfare hasn't been a success since it went commercial.

VIDI launched a marketing campaign offering a Ferrari 458 Spider in an attempt to get more people to try the video service - which at launch said that it would need 40 000 regular users to break even.

Both ShowMax and at their respective launch events refused to say how many users and subscribers they would need to be viable and successful but both ShowMax and said there won't be immediate pressure.

Tiso Blackstar attributed VIDI's failure to "weak market penetration and the slow pace of meaningful broadband growth in South Africa".

Compared to Netflix South Africa, ShowMax and, VIDI had the smallest number of film titles, the smallest number of TV titles, as well as the shortest trial period of just 7 days.

According to a recent study by research firm BMI-TechKnowledge, South African consumers have a very low awareness of VOD providers with only 18% of people knowing what and who video-on-demand players are.

According to the study there could be between 692 000 and 917 500 active video-on-demand (VOD) households by 2020 in South Africa.

MultiChoice with DStv and its BoxOffice service stands out with the highest awareness as the leading pay-TV service, with low levels of awareness of the pure-play VOD providers," according to the market research.