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All posts by Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter

  • iOS users can now download their favourite ShowMax shows

    People accessing ShowMax from Android devices have been able to download content for offline viewing since December last year. Now their iOS-using counterparts can join in on the fun. The Naspers-owned video-on-demand (VoD) service on Tuesday announced downloads for its iPhone and iPad apps, aiming to both address the cost of internet connectivity in South Africa and to help people use the service while on the move. “The internet connection is the challenge for many South Africans” said ShowMax South Africa General Manager, John Kotsaftis. Read more: ShowMax introduces download functionality for offline viewing “Not everyone has fast internet access throughout...

  • This SA-filmed VR sci-fi short is worth a watch

    If you've got a dedicated VR device or Google Cardboard on hand, then you might want to take a look at this sci-fi short, filmed and produced in South Africa. Called ATMOS, the short is produced by Rose Lovell and directed by Durban-based director Matthew Nefdt. Filmed on the Eastern Cape's Wild Coast, ATMOS is a tale of humanity’s desperate flight from a dying earth and allows viewers to "stand on the shores of another world, discover other life, and explore an alien environment". Read more: Art meets VR in new Joburg exhibition According to the release, "Atmos transports...

  • Deloitte Digital gobbles up Fintech agency Jinja Interactive

    Deloitte Digital has made another raid into the specialist agency space. On Monday, the full services consultancy announced its acquisition of Jinja Interactive -- a Cape Town-based strategy, design and app development agency. In a press release sent to Memeburn, Deloitte Digital said it sees the acquisition as part of its strategy to build a fully-integrated digital transformation business, providing digital innovation and customer-centric engagement solutions to its rapidly growing list of clients across Africa. According to the release, Jinja Interactive will be particularly useful bolstering its offerings around digital financial services and fintech innovation. Read more: 2014: the...

  • ISPA weighs in on OTT regulation, tells networks to innovate

    It's been a long time since South Africa's seen a tech issue as contentious as the bid by the country's mobile network operators to regulate over the top (OTT) apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype. The networks' argument is that these apps, which allow people to make calls and send text messages, have eaten their traditional revenue streams without spending any money on infrastructure. Everyone else's argument is that the people using theses services spend ridiculous amounts of money on data, all of which goes into the operators' bank accounts. The latest part to weigh in on the...

  • Can mobile remittances fix the industry’s image problem?

    Remittances are an important part of the global economy, with more than US$586-billion sent across international borders in 2015 alone. While tech has done incredible things for the space in recent years, it seems that mobile remittance services especially have an image problem. According to a survey from Amdocs, released this week, as many as 82% of people using services currently offered by existing players such as money transfer operators (MTOs) and banks, are dissatisfied and that 83% of respondents in developed countries -- United States, United Kingdom, and Germany -- are willing to send money internationally using mobile...

  • PopiMedia, ‘that’ billboard, digital’s state of emergency: 5 Memeburn articles you loved this week

    Take a moment. Breathe. You've made it to Friday and you've got the weekend to look forward to. Before you throw off those pants and crash on the couch though, take a look at what's caught the attention of the Memeburn readership this week. From a major acquisition, to opinions on the state of digital media and the latest incidence of social media furor to hit South Africa, these were the five most read articles on Memeburn over the past seven days. 5. PayU appoints ex-PayPal exec as CEO Naspers-owned payment services provider PayU on Tuesday announced the...

  • Move over Psy, Adele’s ‘Hello’ is fastest video to hit 1bn views mark

    Since Psy's 'Gangnam Style' became the first video to hit one billion YouTube views back in December 2012, a number of others have reached the mark. None however have done it as fast as the video for Adele's smash hit 'Hello'. The first single from the British singer's album 25 soared to the billion mark in just 87 days. By comparison, it took Wiz Khalifa’s 'See You Again' to reach the magical mark and 158 days for 'Gangnam Style' to do so. It is worth noting however that YouTube has significantly more users than it did when 'Gangnam Style'...

  • We’re buying more devices, but spending less on them

    The global hunger for devices shows no sign of abating, with 2.4-billion units expected to ship in 2016, a 1.9% increase from 2015. At the same time however, the amount we're willing to spend on devices is shrinking. That's according to technology research house Gartner, which says that end-user spending in constant US dollars is expected to decline 0.5% for the first time in 2016. One major factor playing a role in the global device market, Gartner says, is country-level economic conditions. “It’s clear that vendors can no longer market their products with the mind of only targeting the...

  • Publicis snaps up Popimedia in R350m+ deal

    Publicis' South African buying spree shows no signs of slowing down. On Wednesday, the French agency network announced that it had completed an outright acquisition of Johannesburg-based ad tech company Popimedia in a deal which industry insiders say is worth more than R350-million. Founded in 2007 by Daniel Levy, Ryan Silberman and Gil Sperling, Popimedia works predominantly in the social space, with the aim of helping clients maximise the value of their effort and spend within the social realm. The acquisition comes just months after Publicis confirmed its acquisition of The Creative Counsel, a stakeholder in Popimedia, in...

  • Viber brings Public Chats to South Africa, rest of MEA

    Instant messaging and calling app Viber on Tuesday announced the launch of its Public Chats feature across Africa and the Middle East. Public Chats are live discussions that Viber users can follow, like and share with their community. Released in beta version in November 2014 with select global partners, this feature allows users to tap into live conversations from celebrities, personalities, brands and organisations. According to Viber, the feature also allows users to discover new communities, follow interactive chats in real-time and share original pieces of content with friends and contacts. "The Middle East and Africa are important markets for...

  • PayU appoints ex-PayPal exec as CEO

    Naspers-owned payment services provider PayU on Tuesday announced the appointment of ex-PayPal Europe VP Laurent Le Moal as CEO. According to a press release sent to Memeburn, Le Moal's role as CEO sees him join the Naspers management team to lead its payments business, reporting directly to Naspers’ Group CEO, Bob Van Dijk. At the pinnacle of his 11-year career at PayPal, Le Moal was VP for Continental Europe, Russia, Middle-East and Africa, leading the growth of its consumer franchise across diverse geographies. Le Moal will reportedly lead PayU’s strategy and growth, building on the company’s position in high growth...

  • Al Jazeera’s AJ+ launches Apple TV app

    Al Jazeera's maverick online news and current events channel AJ+ has announced the launch of its Apple TV app, bringing its offering to TVs for the first time. The new tvOS App allows users to consume and engage with AJ+ content and, according to Al Jazeera, features "unique emoji reactions feature that replaces the classic star rating system used by many publishers". Read more: Al Jazeera wants you to help make storytelling better using apps This, it says, not only "allows users to express themselves more emotively" but is also channeled back to the newsroom to allow producers to gauge...

  • Rest of world’s leaders have nothing on Obama, Modi’s Facebook game

    Facebook is playing an increasingly important role in the global political landscape, with nearly 90% of the world's governments maintaining some kind of presence on the social network. And if international relations were a popularity contest, then US president Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would come out on top. That's according to a new study by PR firm Burson-Marsteller, which also reveals that 87 heads of state, 82 heads of government and 51 foreign ministers maintain personal pages on the platform. The study shows that, over the past eight years, Facebook has become the platform...

  • WhatsApp ditches annual subscription, promises to stay ad free

    WhatsApp on Monday announced plans to drop its annual subscription fees as it looks for alternative revenue models. In an official blog post, the massively popular instant messaging service, announced that the decision had been made after it realised that many of its users "don't have a debit or credit card number." and "worried they'd lose access to their friends and family after their first year". "Over the next several weeks," its says "we'll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service". In the same post it sought to address...

  • Falcon 9 rocket fails to nail drone boat landing, explodes spectacularly

    SpaceX may be in a good place when it comes to landing its Falcon 9 rockets on dry land -- and thus allowing them to be reused -- but the same cannot be said for its attempts to land on drone ships out at sea. The latest attempt, shared by Elon Musk om Instagram, shows a Falcon 9 attempting to land on one of SpaceX's drone ships. All appears to be going well until the rocket tips over and explodes spectacularly. Falcon lands on droneship, but the lockout collet doesn't latch on one the four...