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Cell C goes black with Video on Demand

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Cell C has launched its black entertainment platform offering kids’ entertainment, video-on-demand and live TV.

Cell C has launched an entertainment platform called black, that it says is “flexible, affordable and brings everything together in one place.

Launching on 14 November, it offers sports, kids’ entertainment, video-on-demand and live TV, with both local and international content. It will include live streaming of five top European football club channels, and services like sports betting and hotel bookings.

“black is an interactive ecosystem that will give customers an array of choice in a single environment; they won’t need to go anywhere else for content,” says Cell C. It is being brought to consumers as a new division within Cell C, focused on delivering entertainment and content. However, it is network agnostic, meaning it will be available to any consumer with an Internet connection from as little as R5 a day.

“Cell C is a business that constantly pushes the bar by bringing to customers the services they want at an incredibly affordable price,” says Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos. “Content services around the world are growing as fast as mobile did in its early days and true to Cell C’s form we are embracing content by bringing black to South Africans.”

Around the world, on-demand content is growing at incredible rates, with international research from Nielson showing that almost two-thirds of the global population watching some form of on-demand content.

“In comparison, the same content is only being served to one-fifth of African viewers,” says Dos Santos. “We know that the pricing and flexibility of black will change that. “

At launch, customers will be able to access a video-on-demand offering that will include up to 5 000 movies, series, music and documentaries, which will include both international and local content.

They will be able to access 60 live TV channels, which include music, news, travel and lifestyle, movies and children’s content. black has also secured the rights to five European football TV channels, namely MANU TV, BARCA TV, LIVERPOOL TV, CHELSEA TV and REAL MADRID TV. Football fans can access behind the scenes footage, interviews with players, games and much more content specific to each football club.

Customers will be able to purchase or rent the latest movies “before any other service in South Africa at an incredible price point”, says Cell C. These movies will also be available for download for offline viewing.

Subscribers will get to binge-watch new seasons of TV shows like Mary Kills People, Catastrophe, Power, High Rollers, Generations, Skeem Saam, Uzalo, and Survivor’s Remorse – as well as catch up on previous seasons.

Says Dos Santos: “We are also in discussions with local production companies to bring South African fans top local content and provide a platform for local talent to showcase their work. We have already started work in that arena with the launch of two Cell C originals in last year’s award-winning Break the Net on our Reality App and this year’s Hangman, which is currently flighting on eTV.”

black will offer many features, including parental control, so kids can watch in a secure and controlled environment, scheduled downloads to save on data costs, recommendations based on total family viewing, up to 48 hours look-back on BTV channels so that customers can catch-up on what they have missed, rent or buy a movie without subscribing to a contract, giving easy access, flexible packages, and access to up to 5 devices, two of which can be watched simultaneously.

The platform that brings black to consumers is being deployed as an ecosystem where customers will have not only access to incredible content, but a host of additional services.  It will offer gaming, travel and hotel booking services, sports betting through Cell C’s partnership with ClickaBet, and other services.

Customers will be able to choose which live TV channels they want to watch and when; they will have a choice of daily, weekly, weekend or monthly subscriptions.

“This really opens the market to more South Africans looking for content, providing affordable and relevant content to those that have not had access to it before,” says Dos Santos.

Services can be purchased using vouchers as well as debit and credit cards.  And as a first in South Africa, Cell C subscribers will be able to pay for any of these services using Prepaid airtime.

At launch, consumers can watch and engage with black by downloading the black Android & iOS apps, using a tablet or phone. It will also available on a web interface at www.black.co.za.

What does it cost?

BUYblack will allow customers to purchase the latest blockbuster movies, fresh from the big screen, earlier than ever before and from as little as R59. These are then owned by the customer to watch as many times as they like.

RENTblack will enable customer to rent the greatest movies and similar to BUYblack the latest releases from R29. Customers will have access to the movie for 48 hours from rental.

FLEXIblack will have hundreds of hours of local and international movies, series, music, documentaries and so much more. FLEXI Access will cost from R10 per day up to R39 per month. FLEXI Premium, which will offer a wider selection, can be purchased at R39 per day up to R99 per month at launch.

BTV, with more than 60 included channels, will offer BTV Premium for R189 per month and BTV Access, which includes 18 channels, at R69 per month.

As a separate subscription option, customers will be able to access five exclusive European football TV channels available individually from R5 a day to R25 per month.

PLAYblack will offer unlimited games from R5 per day.

* Visit www.black.co.za to see all the options available. 

Arts and Entertainment

The VPN path to Netflix

In January 2016, Netflix announced that they were expanding their global offerings. In one day, the company simultaneously launched in 130 new countries, bringing the total number of countries with access to the streaming service to 190.

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It was an announcement that was met with excitement; it meant that hundreds of countries that weren’t previously able to access any content from the streaming site would now have access. But it came with a catch: due to agreements with content owners, who license titles by region, not all Netflix libraries would be the same. So, while a multitude of countries now had access to the streaming service, content libraries could be extremely limited. For example, when Netflix launched in South Africa in 2016, users in the country only had access to 678 titles — a strong contrast to the then-U.S. library, which had over 5,600.

To get around limited content libraries, users took to using virtual private networks, or VPNs, which enable users to change their IP address to a different location, effectively tricking the streaming service into thinking they’re in a country with more titles. Shortly after the launch date, however, Netflix began clamping down on VPNs, implementing a VPN ban meant to stop users from circumventing the geo-blocks.

Today, two years after Netflix’s global expansion, users are still facing limited content libraries. According to Finder, in June of 2017 — more than a year after Netflix launched in South Africa — the country still didn’t have access to 93 percent of the titles in the United States. To access them, they now also have to get around the Netflix VPN ban, a tricky process that involves figuring out which VPN providers can still get access to the streaming site.

To help simplify the process, TheBestVPN tested 67 VPN providers to see which ones could still access Netflix, two years into the ban. View their findings, as well as an overview of the Netflix VPN ban and the best VPNs for accessing Netflix in 2018, in the full infographic below.

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Arts and Entertainment

Incredible animation landmark

The Walt Disney Company Africa is pleased to share that, in its sixth week of release, Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2 has become the biggest animated film of all time at the South African Box Office, with over R47.4 million and 676k attendances.

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Disney releases now account for 4 of the top 10 films of all time at the local Box Office, with 3 coming from 2018 alone, including Marvel Studios’ Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War in number 1 and 2 positions respectively and Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2filling the 8th position. The 2015 release of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens currently sits in the 7th position.

Now in cinemas, Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2 sees Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) being called upon to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell), Dash (voice of Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack—whose superpowers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible. Incredibles 2 is written and directed by Brad Bird (“Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille”) and produced by John Walker (“The Incredibles,” “Tomorrowland”) and Nicole Grindle (“Sanjay’s Super Team” short, “Toy Story 3” associate producer).

Also in cinemas is Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and The Wasp, a new chapter featuring heroes with the astonishing ability to shrink. In the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from the past. Ant-Man and The Wasp is directed by Peyton Reed and stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, with Michelle Pfeiffer, with Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas. Kevin Feige and Stephen Broussard are producing, with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Charles Newirth and Stan Lee serving as executive producers. Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd & Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari wrote the screenplay.

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