Showmax could launch more standalone sports packages

MultiChoice, the South African pay-TV giant, is shifting gears, pivoting its revamped Showmax platform towards a mobile-first, sports-focused future. While the initial launch features only a Premier League package for smartphones, CEO Marc Jury emphasizes: “Never say never,” hinting at wider sports offerings and higher-quality streaming options in the near future.

Read: Nvidia launches the RTX 40 Super range

This strategic move reflects MultiChoice’s bold wager on the burgeoning African streaming market and its 450 million smartphone users, a largely untapped audience for premium sports content. With football’s immense popularity across the continent, they aim to capture a loyal mobile following through Showmax’s affordable, mobile-specific Premier League package priced at R69 per month.

This focus on mobile aligns with MultiChoice’s ambition to scale rapidly, reaching the critical mass necessary to solidify Showmax as Africa’s premier streaming service. CEO Calvo Mawela warns, “It is critical that we make our move now,” recognizing the growing competition in the streaming landscape.

However, Showmax’s future branding remains fluid. While currently positioned as a standalone streaming platform, it might eventually incorporate SuperSport or even DStv branding for sports-only packages and bundles. DStv, meanwhile, is expected to stick to its traditional linear TV roots while venturing into content aggregation across various streaming platforms.

The revamped Showmax platform offers more than just sports. Showmax’s general entertainment package will see a price drop to R89 per month, and a mobile-only option for R39 will further cater to diverse consumer preferences. Additionally, Showmax 2.0 boasts a more robust technical framework, powered by NBCUniversal’s Peacock platform, with 4K streaming promised in the future.

While MultiChoice holds content licensing agreements with major players like Warner Bros. Discovery, Jury acknowledges the inevitable arrival of first-party platforms like Paramount+ and HBO Max in South Africa. This competitive landscape underscores the urgency and ambition behind MultiChoice’s mobile-first, sports-driven strategy for Showmax.