• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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New Showmax aims to close African content gap

New Showmax aims to close African content gap

Showmax, MultiChoice Group’s streaming platform, is set to launch a revamped app in February 2024.

This relaunch aims to close the gap for African original content left by Amazon Prime after they announced a reduction in their African investments in January.

When announcing its intention to rebrand in January, Showmax said it would roll out more than 1,300 hours of original content in the coming year, a 150 percent increase compared to the year before.

At the time, Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement, “Nobody understands Africa like we do. Showmax is putting the continent first with a powerful streaming service that will revolutionise streaming in Africa in 2024.”

Showmax will be releasing 21 African Originals after its relaunch. Nigerian titles announced include ‘Flawsome’, ‘Sadau Sisters’, ‘Cheta’m’, Free Men, and ‘The Counsellor’.

Other African content includes, ‘Red Ink’, ‘Catch Me A Killer’, ‘Widows Unveiled’, ‘The Real Housewives of Durban’, ‘Youngins from South Africa’, ‘Chocolate Kings’, ‘What Will People Say?’ ‘The Mommy Club’, ‘Wyfie’, ‘Koek’, ‘Ekhaya Backpackers’, ‘Single Kiasi’, and ‘Eno’.

Amazon cuts investment

Amazon Prime Video via an email to staff in January announced its decision to decrease investment in Nigeria and South Africa, having entered the African market around two years ago.

Part of the Nigerians impacted by this move was Jade Osiberu, a filmmaker, who inked an exclusive deal with Amazon Prime in 2022. While the exact number of titles greenlit remains unclear, sources suggest that at least two productions are set to be released regardless of the investment cut.

Nemsia, another film production company, unveiled three originals on the platform. The first of these, titled ‘Breath of Life’, debuted in 2023 getting critical acclaim nationwide. ‘After 30’ the production’s second title, not only received full approval but also secured funding while the third and final movies are yet to be announced.

Other African firms affected include Inkblot and Anthill Studio whose output deals with Amazon Prime were signed in 2021 and 2022.

The decision by Amazon to reduce investment in the region has prompted professionals and stakeholders in the Nigerian film industry to find alternative ways to distribute their local content and opportunities for local streamers to tap into the production companies with vast amounts of local content.

Showmax picks up slack

Showmax’s rebranding looks to fill the gap left behind by Amazon Prime. It also, by teaming up with Comcast and NBCUniversal’s Peacock platform, hopes to introduce new prices, mobile-only deals, and more shows, including sports, and original content.

This move will be driven by recent investments in the firm. MultiChoice Group and NBCUniversal Media, an American multinational mass media and entertainment industry, announced that they will invest $177 million into Showmax’s video streaming platform in 2024.

$30 million is expected to be invested as equity funding into Showmax, effective from February 2, 2024, and an additional funding of $127 million during MultiChoice’s fiscal year, ending on March 31, 2024. Also, the partnership with NBCUniversal aims to bring significant resources and content such as major Hollywood content from Universal, DreamWorks, etc.

It remains to be seen if Showmax will live up to expectations as the firm already overtook Netflix at the end of 2022 to claim the market-leading share of Over-The-Top video subscriptions in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Omdia, a global technology research powerhouse.