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VAST Networks zero-rates Showmax on WI-FI

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Showmax, and Africa’s first open access Wi-Fi provider, VAST Networks (VAST), have partnered to zero-rate Wi-Fi data for streaming and downloading TV shows and movies on Showmax. 

Showmax and VAST are currently running a three-month trial at 83 VAST Wi-Fi hotspots across South Africa, which are mainly located at shopping malls and hospitals.

Chris Savides, Head of Showmax Africa, said:

“Thanks to the downloads feature on Showmax, this zero-rated data means much more than just having something to watch while you’re at the mall. Once you log onto one of the VAST Wi-Fi sites, download up to 25 TV shows or movies and the data won’t cost you a cent. Get your groceries at the shops and come home with the week’s entertainment sorted.”

Showmax apps for both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets support the downloads feature. Up to 25 TV shows or movies can be downloaded at once and will remain on the device for 30 days. Once started, viewers have 48 hours to finish viewing a particular piece of content.

Users have the option of four different file sizes, which is useful when memory storage space is limited. At the lowest quality setting, one 20-minute episode of The Big Bang Theory will take up around 80 MB of space.

Grant Marias, CEO at VAST Networks, said:

“Online video consumption, specifically on mobile devices, is growing rapidly in South Africa.  With entertainment being one of the most sought-after content types, we are very excited to play a role in addressing this need and providing consumers with wider access to relevant content.

“Our efforts continue to be aimed at our ambition of democratising internet access and we look forward to supporting Showmax and delivering greater value to the South African market.”

A full list of sites is available here: https://www.showmax.com/eng/vast.

The internet TV phenomenon is taking off globally with more than 100 million people now streaming TV shows and movies. The ability to choose from an extensive and diverse catalogue of content, start and stop at will, and do this without interruption from adverts is proving highly attractive.

Showmax launched in 2015 and costs R99 per month. There’s no contract – the service can be cancelled at any time with zero penalty.

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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