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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

Android arrives on SA TVs

The arrival of the first name-brand Android TV in South African stores symbolises the shift to smart TVs, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You probably have a good idea of what operating system (OS) runs on your phone, and may even know the version number. After all, Android and iOS almost define our relationships with our phones.

Not many, on the other hand, know anything about the OS on their TVs. Older TVs don’t even have names for their OS. Newer TVs with Internet connectivity, generally known as smart TVs, all have operating systems, but in most cases do not make a big deal of it. Only Samsung, with its Tizen OS, and LG, with webOS, are well-known. Then again, not all that well-known either.

Before Sony pulled out of the local TV market, it was about to introduce Android, the OS made by Google for smartphones, to the big box. A number of no-name brands have also debuted with Android, but consumers have tended to avoid them precisely because they were such an unknown quantity.

Enter Skyworth. It’s an $8-billion dollar business listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, but is only beginning to emerge as a presence in the South African market. It bought out Sinotec, the most popular budget big-screen TVs locally, and introduced the parent brand to the country in the last two years.

It keeps costs down because it brings in components from China, but assembles the TV sets at a local factory, thereby avoiding import duties on luxury items. Quality has rarely been an issue for Sinotec devices, and Skyworth seems to be benefiting from its long relationship with retailers.

Continue reading about the first Android TV contender in South Africa.

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SA rises as Spotify turns 10

October 2018 marks 10 years since Spotify officially launched its music streaming platform and to celebrate this milestone, Spotify has taken a look at some of its biggest discoveries in music.

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Spotify provided the following information:

The service only launched in South Africa in March this year, so this country is not included in the retrospective, but Spotify supplied Gadget with the following local streaming landmarks:

·         Most streamed South African artist – Jeremy Loops

·         Most streamed female South African artist – Shekhinah

·         Highest first-day streaming record – AKA’s Beyonce

Since launch Spotify now sits at 180 million monthly active listeners across 65 countries. These Spotify users can enjoy a music library of over 40 million songs and podcasts, and over 3 billion-plus user-created playlists. As of 31 August 2018, Spotify has also paid over 10 billion euros to rights holders since launch.

To date, over 2 000 genres of music have been identified on Spotify, among them Wonky (electronic music characterised by synths with unusual time signatures), Shimmer Pop (a Swedish cousin of indie pop and indietronica), and British Blues (the blues…with a British flavour).

Spotify has also done an assessment of “listening diversity,” – the number of artists the average user streams per month – which has risen on Spotify over the past 10 years, at an average of about 8% per year. In the past three years alone, listening diversity increased about 40% on the strength of new personalised and editorial playlists – meaning people are listening to an increased number of artists on a regular basis.

An official Decade of Discovery playlist features the most-streamed songs over the past  decade, including favourites like Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,” Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.,” Rihanna’s “Work,” Sia’s “Chandelier,” Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” and the star-studded “Despacito Remix”.

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