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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

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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