Tiso BlackStar, an investor in Times Media Group’s video on demand (VOD) service Vidi, has stated its intention to exit the business due to its poor take-up, Business Day reported.
It isn’t clear what this means for the future of the Vidi, but with Altech shutting down its push VOD service, the Node, Vidi’s fate seems sealed.
Vidi said Blackstar is only looking to consolidate its position in the marketplace, though, when asked what this means for its future.
The future of VOD in South Africa
MyBroadband asked Vidi’s rivals in the market – ShowMax, OntapTV, and Discover Digital (which runs MTN FrontRow) – what this means for VOD in South Africa.
ShowMax said there is no question that video on demand will take root in the country.
“The cost of data and a lack of understanding how [subscription] VOD services work are limiting factors, but our experience so far has been that if your video catalogue is of high enough quality then it is possible to build your subscriber base,” said ShowMax.
PCCW, the group behind OntapTV.com, is also positive about the local market – saying it is poised for growth.
Discover Digital said South Africa remains an immature VOD market, which faces broadband capacity and costs challenges.
“Steady uptake needs to be measured over the first five years and [Vidi and BlackStar] probably had unrealistic expectations of the market response – something that can only be learnt by the first-to-market movers,” said Discover Digital.
Would they like to buy Vidi?
ShowMax and Discover Digital said they believe there is room in the South African market for more than one big VOD player.
It all comes down to having a critical mass of the right content, and focusing on niche or exclusive offerings.
Asked if they would buy Vidi, PCCW and Discover Digital said they aren’t interested.
ShowMax said it would look at any opportunities out there, but could not comment on specific companies.