MultiChoice’s Showmax Pro streaming service – which includes live sport content – is expected to be available in South Africa in the next few weeks.
The product, which has been launched in Kenya and Nigeria, combines Showmax’s standard entertainment offering of TV shows and movies with DStv’s music, news, and sport channels.
Showmax Pro subscribers in these countries can stream live football matches from various major leagues – including the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and PSL games.
In addition, IAAF athletics, professional boxing, and the world’s top marathons will also be streamed on Showmax Pro.
The selection doesn’t include other popular international sports such as rugby, cricket, tennis, golf, or motorsport.
The rights to broadcast many of the live events happening in these sports have been acquired by MultiChoice and they are one of the biggest attractions of its DStv Premium package in South Africa.
The company has been bleeding DStv Premium subscribers in recent years, a decline which itself and industry analysts have attributed in part to the growth of Internet-based video streaming services like Netflix.
The benefit of offering popular live sports through an Internet-based service like Showmax Pro is therefore evident.
Rugby and cricket to be included
According to Media Monitoring Africa director William Bird, South Africans should expect popular sports to be available on Showmax Pro when it launches in South Africa.
“On the content, I have no doubt that they will include rugby and cricket, assuming it is for sports fans,” Bird stated.
Bird said that although he cannot estimate a cost for the package at this time, he expects it will be similar to and competitive with DStv’s existing packages, or the service is unlikely to gain much traction.
Most of the live sports offered on Showmax Pro in Kenya and Nigeria are available on either DStv Compact or DStv Compact Plus in South Africa, which are priced at R399 and R529 per month, respectively.
DStv Premium, which includes rugby and cricket broadcasting, is priced at R819 per month.
Catering to both decoder and broadband users
Bird believes MultiChoice aims to offer stratified packages when Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are made available on its Explora decoder.
The company said it would be adding these popular international streaming services during the announcement of its annual results for the 2019/20 financial year.
“I suspect they have a plan for how they intend to keep the Premium audiences by being a super aggregator, and the rest who don’t have always-on Internet will have the decoder option,” Bird said.
Showmax has said it expects to complete rollout of Showmax Pro across sub-Saharan Africa in the next six to eight weeks.
This indicates that the service could be launched in South Africa by late August or early September.