ShowMax launches two-tier streaming service in Kenya


It’s been a great week for African tech. After Pokemon Go was finally made available in 31 of the continent’s countries, Naspers-owned streaming video service ShowMax has today launched in Kenya.

Citing special requirements for the Kenyan online market, the company has unveiled a “two-tier service” which allows for budget and premium users to enjoy a largely similar service, albeit with a few key differences.

“We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all solutions,” states GM of ShowMax, John Kotsaftis in a press release.

“Kenya has different needs and tastes to other countries and deserves something designed specifically for Kenyans.

“[ShowMax is] the first to put strong emphasis on local content including having sports clips. It’s the first to be optimised for mobile usage, reducing data consumption by as much as 75%. And it’s the first to deliver all of this at an affordable price point.”

ShowMax’s two-tiered system, launched in Kenya, is the first of its kind for the company

As previously mentioned, the two tiers are placed at opposite ends of the Kenyan market. ShowMax Premium is priced at KSh880 (roughly R119) per month, and “has a full range of international and local content”.

The cheaper ShowMax Select however, is priced at KSh330 (R44.80), and is a “mobile-first, data optimised product that offers reduced data consumption with savings of up to 75%”. Select can also be paid for using M-Pesa, and is completely attuned to local content.

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While the models differ, much of the core ShowMax mechanics are shared across the tiers.

Users can still download up to 25 shows for offline viewing for up to 30 days. Notably, size and streaming quality adjustments can also be made. ShowMax states that a 20-minute-long TV show will cost the user just 80MB in its lowest data-use setting.

The streaming service hopes that the two-tiered system will be enough for it to break into Kenya’s fragmented online market, catering for high-bandwidth users, and the ever-growing mobile-first community.

“With these features and a strong focus on local content, we think ShowMax will finally crack the internet TV model in Kenya,” Kotsaftis concludes.

Andy Walker, former editor


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