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New Showmax to become Africa’s second-biggest VOD platform

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 13 Feb 2024
Showmax 2.0 officially launched on 12 February
Showmax 2.0 officially launched on 12 February

MultiChoice’s relaunched Showmax video streaming service has stated its intention of becoming the leading platform in Africa.

However, research projections show the new Showmax will become Africa’s second-biggest video streaming service in five years.

According to a report by Digital TV Research, Sub-Saharan Africa will have 16 million paying subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) subscriptions by 2029, up from seven million at end-2023.

Digital TV Research notes Netflix will remain the SVOD market leader, with 6.9 million subscribers by 2029.

It adds that Showmax will be the second-largest platform, with 3.7 million paying subscribers.

Amazon Prime Video will grow to 2.97 million subscribers across Sub-Saharan Africa by 2029 and be in third place.

With its rollout expected to be limited to South Africa, Disney+ will only have 905 000 subscriptions by 2029, says the research firm.

Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, says: “SVOD is a battle between Netflix and regional player Showmax. Rich in local content and sports rights, Showmax now has access to NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures and HBO content. Showmax’s parent MultiChoice recently rejected a takeover bid from Canal Plus.”

According to Digital TV Research, South Africa and Nigeria will supply 59% (9.4 million) of the region’s total number of SVOD subscriptions.

However, it notes, SVOD penetration will still be low by 2029, with only 7.1% of TV households paying for at least one subscription – although this is up from 4.7% at end-2023.

Billion-dollar ambition

The report comes after video entertainment firm MultiChoice yesterday relaunched its Showmax platform, also known as Showmax 2.0.

MultiChoice group CEO Calvo Mawela recently told ITWeb that he believes the relaunch of the Showmax streaming service will propel the business to make revenue of $1 billion in the next five years.

In March, MultiChoice partnered with Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Sky to launch a streaming service targeting the African continent.

With this partnership, Showmax is looking to take US-based streaming service Netflix head-on.

Marc Jury, CEO of Showmax.
Marc Jury, CEO of Showmax.

Under the deal, the new Showmax Group will be 70% owned by MultiChoice and 30% by NBCUniversal. In Nigeria, NBCUniversal will hold an indirect 23.7% stake in the local subsidiary.

Last week, the company invited the who’s who of the media industry to the relaunch of the revamped video streaming service.

Speaking at the event, Marc Jury, CEO of MultiChoice South Africa, said Showmax is gunning to become the leading streaming platform in Africa in the long run.

Jury is currently leading Showmax, as the company continues to search for a new leader to replace Yolisa Phahle, who left the company in September.

Part of the Showmax relaunch is a new technical platform from streaming service Peacock, which is active in more than 70 countries.

The Peacock platform supports both live and on-demand content, including live sporting events, with that capability extended to the new Showmax.

Showmax migrated existing customers to streaming service Peacock’s platform from 23 January to 12 February.

Said Jury: “Something that excites us is the partnership with the Premier League, where we will launch a Showmax Premier League offering on mobile phones. We also have a completely new brand construct.

“There has been a lot of talk about the migration to the new platform. What this means is we had to move all our existing customers across to the new tech stack. It hasn’t been without its challenges over the past few weeks, but I’m very proud to say every single one of our existing customers have been migrated to the new Showmax platform.

“One of the key differentiation points that Showmax offers compared to a number of streaming platforms in Africa is our ability to localise.

“We are localising content as well as points of payments, and I’m sure our understanding of the local market is something that will set us apart…allowing us to become the number one streaming platform,” he said.


The new Showmax features a new app, new look, new content portfolio as well as its biggest drawcard – the first standalone mobile plan for the English Premier League, says MultiChoice.

The Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes, with a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people.

Showmax and MTN are collaborating to bring three new bundled offerings to South African customers.

Targeting die-hard football fans, the Showmax Premier League standalone mobile offering will feature all 380 games live on Showmax for R69 a month.

In addition, there are two more Showmax plans available to customers in 44 African countries: Showmax Entertainment on mobile for R39 a month at launch, as well as the multi-device general Showmax Entertainment plan, where the monthly price falls from R99 to R89 per month.

The mobile bundled offering of Showmax Premier League and general Showmax Entertainment will be made available to customers for R99 a month.