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AppDate: Loans on tap

SEAN BACHER’s latest app roundup includes FNB’s loan service through its app, myFanPark, Bolt for Business, BookBeak and ZAR X Mobi

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FNB’s new in-app loan service

As part of its commitment to help grow SMEs through lending, FNB now allows businesses to take up credit and investments via the FNB app.

This service allows businesses with an annual turnover between R0 and R60-million to apply for an an overdraft, business loan and revolving loan, as well as a 48 hour cash accelerator notice investment product, and get approval in a few minutes, on the FNB App.  

Previously, business customers could only apply for credit via branches or online banking. But, given that over 50% of all FNB business credit is currently being digitally originated and approved, SMEs will now be able to take up credit through a channel of their choice.

They do so by following a few steps on the FNB app: logging in and selecting Business Credit Solutions/Investments, selecting the preferred option, viewing the quote and accepting the agreement. Businesses without an FNB account will be offered the products during the application process.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free service 

Stockists: Visit the FNB website here for downloading instructions.

myFanPark

myFanPark is transforming the way fans  connect with South African celebrities through a platform that allows them to request and purchase personalised, video-recorded shout-out messages from celebrities.

Since inception a few months ago, myFanPark has signed up 60 celebrities, with new ones being added each day. The app lets one request a personalised video message for any occasion, from words of encouragement, to big announcements or special celebrations.

Some examples of what the app offers include: 

A message from Springbok and Blue Bulls centre Jesse Kriel or Faf de Klerk to motivate your son on his 1st rugby match, with a good luck message. 

A message from Lee Thompson, the first bachelor on the reality show The Bachelor SA, to congratulate your best friend on getting engaged.

If you need to give someone a laugh, how about asking comedians Schalk Bezuidenhout or Casper de Vries? 

Each celebrity charges their own rate. The cool thing is no video will ever be the same, as each video will be personalised by the celebrity and recorded especially for the fan. myFanPark will also be donating a portion of proceeds from each video to The Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trust or Laureus Sport for Good.

Platform: Any device with an up-to-date Internet browser

Expect to pay: Prices range depending on the celebrity and the message you want him or her to send out.

Stockists: Find it at www.myfanpark.com

Bolt for Business

Bolt has launched Bolt for Business, allowing companies of all sizes to manage and pay for corporate trips via a single, easy-to-use portal.

This addition to the Bolt range of services broadens the impact of on-demand transport for businesses, as companies can now democratise access to jobs by removing the “own transport required” condition for employment, and have access to a simple service offering for employees and clients.

They can do this by allocating a monthly budget through the Bolt platform to individual employees.

Bolt for Business gives companies the ability to offer employee groups, clients and recruits the option to utilise the Bolt service at the company’s expense, and gives account managers the ability to set and customise spending allowances and the number of trips employees can take.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Interested companies can sign up for the service here.

BookBeak

Africans have been telling stories for centuries, passing nuggets of cultural knowledge and heritage from one generation to the next through fables, folktales, and epic narrations. Recently launched storytelling app, BookBeak, is now making it possible for those new and old African stories to be shared with the world.

The idea stems from the fact that many of these stories need to be shared with the rest of the world but, before now, there was no way to do so. However, with Africa being one of the fastest growing smartphone markets, it makes sense to create a platform that will allow Africans to share their stories on a device that nearly all own.

One of BookBeak’s most meaningful and impactful features is its revenue sharing model to benefit its contributing writers. Revenue generated from BookBeak’s global subscription base will be shared on a 50/50 basis with contributing writers, and then further tiered remuneration based on the number of downloads received by their respective stories. This will allow people to earn money from their unique storytelling talents.

Stories are updated weekly and are available for adults and children.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: Three premium reads for free, and then a monthly subscription of R59

Stockists: Visit BookBeak here.

ZAR X Mobi

ZAR X Mobi app is a newly launched application that allows beginners to start dabbling in the stock market.

The app’s interface is intuitive and easy to navigate and removes the complexity associated with equity investing. Once registered with ZAR X, users can track the value of their portfolio, as well as access crucial information like portfolio holdings, cash on hand and open orders in real-time. The app also offers push notifications for placed trade instructions, matched orders in the market, new listings, cash movements and more.

The idea of the web-based app is that it breaks down the barriers that have for so long excluded the majority of South Africans from investing in equities.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: Free to download, but percentages but brokerage fees are charged.

Stockists: Visit ZAR X here for downloading instructions.

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Showmax launches half-price mobile streaming service

A new streaming product designed specifically for Africa, featuring TV series as well as African content and live sport, is aimed at filling the gap in subscription video on demand services

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The subscription video on demand (SVoD) model, which originated in the USA, spread rapidly in countries where uncapped broadband is affordable and widely available. However, because the model also relies on consumers being comfortable with transacting online and having ready access to credit cards, it has barely scratched the surface across Africa.

On top of that, smartphones are often the only only form of Internet access across Africa, and none of the popular SVoD services have been designed for the format.

Showmax says it plans to change this with the launch of a new mobile plan that costs 50% of the standard Showmax package but still features 100% of the same video content. Showmax is set apart by a combination of four pillars: hit African content, exclusive international series, topkids’ shows, and live sport, including weekly matches from the English Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, and Spain’s La Liga.

Showmax says the new plan is aimed at consumers who only use smartphones and tablets to watch video content. Video resolution peaks at standard definition to help reduce data consumption. As it is a product aimed at individuals, only one concurrent stream is included in the plan. As with the regular service, it is also available for a 14-day free trial.

“This is all about an African service developing a solution that meets the needs of African consumers,” saus Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice. “Customer feedback consistently points to local content and sport as some of the things that people value most from Showmax. That’s of course on top of the international series, movies, and kids’ shows that are our bread and butter. With all of that content now available in a product designed specifically for mobile usage, we’re doing something no other service can offer.

“On top of that, with groundbreaking deals like our new offer with Vodacom in South Africa, we solve the credit card issue through add-to-bill payment and the data issue by including data directly in the package. We’re looking to launch similar offers in Kenya and Nigeria soon.”

Both the standard and mobile plans include live sport, sport magazine shows and sport documentaries. The 2019 Rugby World Cup Final was streamed live on Showmax earlier this month, and the following is a selection of some of the football due to be live-streamed in November:

22 November: Levante vs Mallorca (La Liga)

23 November: Arsenal vs Southampton (Premier League)

24 November: Bologna vs Parma (Serie A)

25 November: Aston Villa vs Newcastle United (Premier League)

29 November: Celta Vigo vs Valladolid (La Liga)

30 November: Fiorentina vs Lecce (Serie A)

30 November: Chelsea vs West Ham United (Premier League)

Showmax’s mobile plan is currently available in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. 

Comparison of Showmax plans:

Mobile Standard
Price per monthR49 / N1450 / KSh 375R99 / N2900 / KSh 750
Watch on smartphone or tabletYesYes
Watch on smart TV and computerNoYes
HD streamingNoYes
TV series, movies, kids’ showsYesYes
SportYesYes
Concurrent streams12
Cancel anytimeYesYes
14-day free trialYesYes
Chromecast and AirPlayNoYes
Number of devicesOne registered device5 devices can be registered, with 2 able to stream at the same time

For a 14-day free trial, visit www.showmax.com

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Online series wins SA’s Journalist of the Year award

A series of stories on gang warfare in Hanover Park earned Tammy Petersen of News24 the ultimate prize in South African journalism. Here are all the winners of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards.

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At the 18th edition of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards held at Vodacom World earlier tonight, News24’s Tammy Petersen took top honours and the R100,000 grand prize as national winner for her body of work on a gang war series entitled When you live in Hanover Park, you know death. Petersen’s submission was one of over 1,000 entries received from around the country across 12 categories – Investigative, Opinion, Lifestyle, Photography, Sport, Economics, Politics, CSI, Live reporting/ breaking news, Data Journalism, Multi-platform and the Young Journalist of the Year Award. This year’s theme – Connect the Dots – pays tribute to the best-of-the-best of those entries.

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at Vodacom Group says: “This year has seen extraordinary entries to the 18th Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards. Not all the stories that are national winners were about huge events but also showed the importance of telling the stories of ordinary people. In line with our theme, the dots were indeed connected, and we congratulate all the winners.”

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “The quality of entries has convinced the judges once again that our industry is in good hands, as far as journalism is concerned, despite the many problems that have beset the industry in recent times. Judging from the entries, South African journalists are determined to fly the flag high for a free, independent, and vigorous media, which augurs well for our democracy. As judges, we can only salute all the entrants for the great work that they submitted. In the end, our industry is probably the biggest winner.”

Judges for this year’s awards are: Ryland Fisher (convenor), Jermaine Craig, Arthur Goldstuck, Albe Grobbelaar, Franz Kruger, Patricia McCracken, Mapi Mhlangu, Collin Nxumalo, Mary Papayya, and Obed Zilwa.

Visit the next page for the full list of winners and their citations.

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