Showmax considering cheaper ad-supported package

MultiChoice is considering introducing an ad-supported tier for Showmax, CEO Marc Jury has said.

“There’s a lot of debates around price points in terms of the commercial viability of a streaming platform,” Jury told MyBroadband in an interview.

He was answering a question about whether they would consider introducing a tiered subscription model like Netflix, offering 4K and more concurrent streams for a higher price, or keep it simple like Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.

“Some have used an advertising-led tier to allow them to keep prices low, offer advertising on a very low-cost model, and then introduce a higher paid-for tier where customers can also get 4K content and other things and be ad-free,” he said.

“It is something we are looking at.”

During a media Q&A on Monday for the launch of Showmax 2.0, he was asked directly about an ad-supported tier, to which he said, “Never say never.”

MultiChoice announced launch details for the revamped “Showmax 2.0” at a media event on Monday — including a price cut for its original service from R99 to R89 per month.

Its new mobile-only Showmax Premier League product will launch for R69 per month, while the Showmax Mobile general entertainment service is R39 per month.

The streaming service will also offer a Premier League and Showmax Mobile bundle for R99 per month.

Running ads significantly increases the complexity of a streaming platform.

The technical complexity should be less of an issue for Showmax, as it is now powered by NBCUniversal’s Peacock, which already supports ads.

However, MultiChoice or Showmax would still have to sell ads for the platform and run all associated administration.

If Showmax were to offer ad-supported products in other African countries where it operates, this complexity and its associated cost would be multiplied for every territory added.

While Netflix and Disney+ offer cheaper ad-supported packages, neither of these products are available in South Africa.

Instead, the two international media giants have launched mobile-only plans in South Africa, similar to the one Showmax already offers.

Netflix and Disney’s mobile plans are both R49 per month — R10 more expensive than Showmax.

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Showmax considering cheaper ad-supported package