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Bingeing without borders

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Cable Girls (from Spain), Suburra (from Italy) and Ingobernable (from Spain) have been listed as some of the most binged shows in South Africa; proving that great storytelling transcends borders.

When stories from different countries, languages and cultures find a worldwide platform, where the only limitation is the creator’s imagination, then unique, yet universal, stories emerge that are embraced by a global audience. Access breaks down borders.

This according to Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix, who says the most practical way to bring great content to the world is to make it available to the world.

“That’s why, since 2015, all Netflix Original Content is available in 190 countries globally. When a new title is launched, all 125 million members, from Kansas to Kuala Lumpur, can enjoy it simultaneously – and watch at whatever pace they prefer since most episodes are uploaded at once. By removing the borders of time or geography, Netflix has democratised entertainment and broke the mould on traditional content ‘windows’,” says Sarantos.

Shows such as Dark (Germany) and Black Mirror (UK), acclaimed by critics and viewers alike, have demonstrated that great content has the ability to resonate with consumers locally and globally.

In a showcase in Rome this week, Netflix announced 7 new shows coming to the slate that transcend language and location with the aim of bringing great local stories to a global audience.

○         Netflix’s first Dutch original series, created by production company Pupkin will launch in 2019. In the liberal city of Amsterdam, these Dutch students have it all: youth, wealth, sex, power…and the portal to a demonic world from the Dutch Golden Age they opened by accident.

○         Mortel (France). Mortel tells the story of teenagers bound together by a supernatural force. The series will be created by Frédéric Garcia and produced by Mandarin Television.

○         The Wave (Germany). The Wave is based on the hit movie THE WAVE and inspired by real events. Produced by Rat Pack in association with Sony Pictures Television Germany.

○         Luna Nera (Italy). An original genre series about women suspected of witchcraft in 17th century Italy, created by Francesca Manieri, Laura Paolucci and Tiziana Triana, and produced by Fandango.

○         La Casa de Papel Part 3 (Spain). After the global success of Part 1 and 2 of the Spanish heist sensation, the Professor will develop new heists that will be unveiled in 2019.

○         The English Game (UK). A six-part drama about the invention of football and how those involved in its creation reached across the class divide to establish the game as the world’s most popular sport.  Produced by 42 and written by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.

○         Turn Up Charlie (UK), a new Netflix original comedy series from the UK starring Idris Elba. The eight-part series is executive produced by Idris Elba and Gary Reich.

Kelly Luegenbiehl, Netflix VP Development, Local Originals summaries their approach to content, “Our strategy is not to make global content. In fact, we’ve seen that when studios try to make ‘global content’ using non-specific cities, generic styles and forced-English language dialogue than it serves no one. At Netflix, we’ve found that the more hyper-local we are then the stories naturally travel on their own because themes emerge that are universal to the human condition. Viewers don’t need to look or sound like a character to relate to them.”

Arts and Entertainment

VoD cuts the cord in SA

Some 20% of South Africans who sign up for a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service such as Netflix or Showmax do so with the intention of cancelling their pay television subscription.

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That’s according to GfK’s international ViewScape survey*, which this year covers Africa (South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria) for the first time.

The study—which surveyed 1,250 people representative of urban South African adults with Internet access—shows that 90% of the country’s online adults today use at least one online video service and that just over half are paying to view digital online content. The average user spends around 7 hours and two minutes a day consuming video content, with broadcast television accounting for just 42% of the time South Africans spend in front of a screen.

Consumers in South Africa spend nearly as much of their daily viewing time – 39% of the total – watching free digital video sources such as YouTube and Facebook as they do on linear television. People aged 18 to 24 years spend more than eight hours a day watching video content as they tend to spend more time with free digital video than people above their age.

Says Benjamin Ballensiefen, managing director for Sub Sahara Africa at GfK: “The media industry is experiencing a revolution as digital platforms transform viewers’ video consumption behaviour. The GfK ViewScape study is one of the first to not only examine broadcast television consumption in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, but also to quantify how linear and online forms of content distribution fit together in the dynamic world of video consumption.”

The study finds that just over a third of South African adults are using streaming video on demand (SVOD) services, with only 16% of SVOD users subscribing to multiple services. Around 23% use per-pay-view platforms such as DSTV Box Office, while about 10% download pirated content from the Internet. Around 82% still sometimes watch content on disc-based media.

“Linear and non-linear television both play significant roles in South Africa’s video landscape, though disruption from digital players poses a growing threat to the incumbents,” says Molemo Moahloli, general manager for media research & regional business development at GfK Sub Sahara Africa. “Among most demographics, usage of paid online content is incremental to consumption of linear television, but there are signs that younger consumers are beginning to substitute SVOD for pay-television subscriptions.”

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Cell C, MTN, Vodacom, announce big streaming deals

Cell C, Vodacom and MTN have all announced new data offerings designed to increase use of social media and streaming services on their networks.

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Cell C, Vodacom and MTN have all announced new data offerings designed to increase use of social media and streaming services on their networks.

Cell C has announced that, for the next three months, it will offer all customers free streaming on black, SA’s newest video-on-demand platform. Cell C customers can stream series, movies, music, kids’ entertainment, sport, news, and live TV channels on their mobile devices without being.

“We know the biggest hurdle to gaining access to streaming content is the data component, and so for the next three months, any existing or new black customer that is also on the Cell C network will not have to have data to be able to download or stream their shows,” says Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos.

Any Cell C customer, whether prepaid or contract, will have access to this promotion, which kicks off on 7 May and will run until Friday, 10 August. There is no opt in required. In other words, browsing the black platform has also been zero rated, so customers looking around to see what is available will also not be charged for data if they are on Cell C. However, clicking through to the betting platform and the ticketing service will be charged according to the customer’s data plan. National data roaming is also not included in this promotion. so black customers that are on other networks will not benefit from the free data promotion.

“Our promise to our customer is the affordability and flexibility to pay what you want; for what you want; however long you want. Go on, sign up for the 7-day free trial, and start binge-ing with black,” says black Chief Executive, Surie Ramasary.

Customers can watch blockbuster movies like Star Wars: The Last Jedi; kids’ animated movie Ferdinand; and the comedy-remake, Jumanji, starring Dwayne Johnson. black series include the multiple award winning show The Fixer, starring Kerry Washington.

With flexible packages from R25 per movie rental or R5 per day for a whole day streaming a football club channel, customers have a range of options.

For more information on how to sign up for black and take advantage of this promotion, visit www.black.co.za or www.cellc.co.za.


MTN goes social

MTN has introduced a range of social bundles starting from R1 a day.  The bundles give new and existing customers affordable access to four social media platforms, namely WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Customers can use the social bundle data allocation without affecting their regular in-bundle data. The bundles cover daily, weekly and monthly expiry rates, allowing customers to choose bundles best suited for their specific usage needs and their budgets.

“There’s been a marked increase in the consumption of social media and data services, so these social bundles are designed to meet those changing customer needs,” says Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive for Corporate Affairs: MTN South Africa. “By offering a variety of expiry periods, we put the control in the hands of our customers, so they can choose to buy just for the day or to stay connected for a week or a month.”

Moderate users can stay in touch with family and friends via WhatsApp for as little as R1 per day, while more medium and heavy users can opt for social bundles that retail at R5 and R10.

To give the customer more control over their usage, the social bundles will send notifications confirming bundle purchase, expiry and depletion notifications.

The social bundles are available on the MyMTN app or via USSD.

The table below illustrates the social bundle rates:

Facebook YouTube WhatsApp Twitter
Duration Data Price Data Price Data Price Data Price
Daily 100MB R5 100MB R5 20MB R1 20MB R1
Weekly 500MB R20 500MB R20 100MB R5 100MB R5
Monthly 1G R50 1G R50 1GB R10 1GB R10

Tickets for Vodacom 

Meanwhile, Vodacom is introducing a data bundle called “Ticket”, which offers overall usage of a range of apps, through categorised bundles, to Prepaid and Hybrid (Top-up) customers through the Vodacom Just4U platform. Ticket bundles offer up to four times the amount of data compared to standard bundles and are also priced for the best scenario, offering data bundles that are specifically tailored to the usage behaviour of the customer.

“Vodacom Ticket will offer customers a simpler way of accessing data bundles for a range of categories, allowing them to stay within their data budget,” says Nyimpini Mabunda, Vodacom’s Chief Officer: Consumer Business Unit.” Vodacom is continuously looking to deliver value for money offerings to our customers, and Ticket is no different. Our customers can engage in the things they love the most without the fear of spending more than they wanted to. That is what Vodacom’s Ticket bundle is ultimately looking to achieve so watch this space as we continue to evolve the product.“

Vodacom says it has formed partnerships with multiple market-leading streaming and digital apps to ensure that customers receive the best value for their data when posting pictures, watching videos, playing games and listening to music.

The service provides full data access to digital and entertainment content through four Ticket categories:

·        Video Ticket (for VuClip Videos, DStv, Netflix, YouTube and Showmax)

·        Music Ticket (for Deezer, Apple Music and Joox)

·        Social Ticket (for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter)

·        Gaming Ticket (for VuClip Games, Vlive Games, SGN and Gamemine)

By partnering with app brands that customers enjoy the most, says Vodacom, it is able to give customers access to what they love, for less, without the limitation of restricted data access to a single pre-assigned app.

For instance, customers looking to binge on the latest series on Netflix, “update their tweeps on their tweleb lifestyles” (Vodacom’s words!) or listen to a hot new track on Deezer, can purchase a Ticket for any of the four available categories via Just4U by dialling *123# from a Vodacom Smartphone. Vodacom’s Ticket bundles enable customers to access platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, through a single Social Ticket.

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