JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African pay TV company MultiChoice Group and U.S. media conglomerate Comcast will offer African subscribers a standalone live Premier League soccer plan on mobile as part of its revamped Showmax video streaming platform.
Africa’s biggest pay TV company MultiChoice has been investing billions of rand to fight off competition from international streaming giants such as Netflix, Amazon and Disney, some of which have also been investing in local content.
Last year the group entered into a partnership with Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Sky to revamp MultiChoice’s existing Showmax streaming service, which will be built on NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platform.
Detailing the plans at the launch event on Monday, Showmax CEO Marc Jury said at the heart of the new offering was the standalone Premier League plan, which will allow Showmax subscribers in Africa to stream the league’s content on their mobile phones for 69 rand ($3.70) a month.
Other plans include the entertainment-only offering available on mobile for 39 rand per month, as well as a bundled entertainment and Premier League offering on mobile for 99 rand a month. Entertainment will also be available on all devices.
Speaking via a pre-recorded video, Premier League CEO Richard Masters said Africa was incredibly important to the league and its clubs, with about 20% of television audiences on any given match day coming from Africa.
This, coupled with just over 450 million smartphones in the hands of individuals across Africa and more than 250 million avid soccer lovers on the continent, was what inspired the standalone mobile Premier League offering, Jury said.
Alongside the Premier League offer, the new app will see about 21 new Showmax original local content programmes launching in February, with a targeted 150% increase in local production output this year.
($1 = 18.6679 rand)
(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Sharon Singleton)