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MultiChoice, NBCUniversal, Sky to launch streaming giant

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 02 Mar 2023

South African-based video entertainment company MultiChoice has partnered with Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Sky to launch a streaming service targeting the African continent.

In a statement today, the companies say the partnership will bring some of the world’s best content and technology to streaming customers across MultiChoice’s 50-market footprint in Sub-Saharan Africa, at a time when Africa is approaching an inflection point in terms of broadband connectivity and affordability.

The new Showmax group will be 70% owned by MultiChoice and 30% by NBCUniversal.

According to MultiChoice, the new group will build on Showmax’s success to date and aim to create the leading streaming service in Africa.

The deal comes as MultiChoice continues to face mounting competition from international streaming services, such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime, among others.

The pay-TV operator has also seen its premium subscriber base dwindling over the years amid growth of video-on-demand players on the African continent.

MultiChoice is enticing customers to its streaming services after hiking the prices of DStv packages.

While it increased the prices of DStv for satellite subscribers last month, it did not raise the charges for streaming services.

Powered by Peacock’s technology, MultiChoice says Showmax subscribers will have access to an extensive premium content portfolio, bringing African audiences the best of local and international programming.

The service will combine MultiChoice’s investment in local content with a pipeline of international content licensed from NBCUniversal and Sky, third-party content from HBO, Warner Brothers International, Sony and others, as well as live English Premier League football.

The partnership will also provide access to all the best African content, such as Showmax Originals and local content from MultiChoice's proprietary channels, including Mzansi Magic, Africa Magic and Maisha Magic, says the video entertainment company.

The company adds that using a significant portfolio of global media assets and Peacock’s streaming platform, which finished 2022 with over 20 million paid subscribers in the US, NBCUniversal and Sky will provide support through the licensing of both technology and content.

Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice group CEO.
Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice group CEO.

“We launched Showmax as the first African streaming service in 2015 and are extremely proud of its success to date. This agreement represents a great opportunity for our Showmax team to scale even greater heights by working with a leading global player in Comcast and its subsidiaries,” says Calvo Mawela, CEO of MultiChoice.

“The new business venture deepens an already strong relationship and builds on the Sky Glass technology partnership that we announced in September last year. We believe we are extremely well-positioned to create a winning platform going forward.”

Dana Strong, group CEO of Sky, comments: “This new collaboration in streaming and content with MultiChoice, NBCUniversal and Sky takes our partnership to the next level in one of the world's most vibrant, fastest-growing markets.

“Last year, we announced MultiChoice as a customer of the Sky Glass platform and now we are excited to help innovate its Showmax streaming service.”

Matt Strauss, chairman of direct-to-consumer and international at NBCUniversal, adds: “This partnership is an incredible opportunity to further scale the global presence of Peacock’s world-class streaming technology, as well as to introduce millions of new customers to extensive premium content from NBCUniversal and Sky’s stellar entertainment brands.”

Further details about the new Showmax service, including launch date, content and pricing, will be announced at a later date.