ShowMax has added a feature to its Android app that allows users to save TV shows and movies to their devices for later viewing.
A new feature that allows TV shows and movies to be downloaded and watched while offline has been added to the ShowMax Android app. This development is of immediate benefit to commuters and people looking for entertainment while travelling, but it also has the potential to have a much wider impact. Those without access to a suitable internet connection at home, which is a significant barrier to the adoption of streaming video services in Africa, will now be able to store content using WiFi hotspots or other out-of-home connectivity options and then watch at a later point.
Speaking about this development, John Kotsaftis, General Manager of ShowMax South Africa said:
“Adding downloads is a bigger deal than it might appear at first glance. Yes, it’s a great way to keep people entertained while travelling to their hometown or to the coast for the summer holidays, but we think the potential impact is much wider.
“Many South Africans are still internet have-nots, and have been excluded from using services like ShowMax. While there may not be suitable internet access at home, more and more public WiFi services and other connectivity options are popping up. By adding download functionality we’re enabling people to take advantage of these connections and fill up on some great shows to watch later.”
Up to 25 TV shows and movies in total can be stored at any one point using the app on Android tablets and smartphones, depending on the available storage capacity on the device. The content will be visible for 30 days and once viewing of a particular show or movie has started, it will be available for completion over the next 48 hours. The same content can be downloaded again if needed.
The addition of downloads also gives consumers a way to use data allocated for night-time usage, which is often discounted or given away free with the purchase of data bundles.
“South Africa isn’t the USA or Europe – we have our own unique needs. I’m proud that we’ve developed a home-grown solution that caters for the connectivity challenges in this country. Importantly, I think this is a case that local developments have the potential to open up access to other African markets where internet connectivity is also an issue,” concludes Kotsaftis.
ShowMax is also adding download capability to its iOS apps. This is due for release early next year.
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.
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.
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.
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.