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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

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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Festival taps into source code of African identity

The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival enters its final week from 24 to 29 September with a special focus on gaming and beats. With the theme of “Tap Your Afro Source Code”, this year celebrates technology, creativity and innovation from across the African continent.

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Dr Tegan Bristow, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival director, says that the theme centres on African visions of technology by tapping into the sources of African tradition and culture alongside technology, creativity and innovation: “This year we are exploring how local culture can move and change the future of technology. How would you understand and unpack the source code of your African identity?”

In its final week, the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival explores music culture via the annual Beats Programme curated by WeHeartBeat, which will descend on the Tshimologong Precinct with a six-day takeover of Braamfontein’s tech hub. The program comprising of workshops, experiences and performances, facilitates the meeting of mind and spirit in an environment geared around the festival’s theme, “Tap Your Afro Source Code”.

The Fak’ugesi Beats Lab, running from the 24th to the 28th of September will host international electronic artists and explore the connection between music, technology and culture with local and international artists. The outcome from these sessions will result in an EP release, a short documentary and a live showcase performance at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party on the 29th. The artists featured in the 2018 Beats Lab are S.Fidelity (Switzerland), Zikomo (USA), Morena Leraba (Lesotho) and South African artists Bonj Mpanza  and Hlasko.

In partnership with Ballantines Whisky and Business Arts South Africa, the programme includes panels on: ‘The Future of Music’ facilitated by Tefo Mohapi from iAfrikan.com and featuring guest panellists Riky Rick and Thibaut Mullings; ‘Managing Health Amongst Creatives’ featuring psychologist Thembi Mashigo and panel guests Ayanda Seoka, Mx Blouse and more. The day will include a Masterclass with Black Milk (USA), The Art of Remixing with Zikomo(USA) and close with a ‘Power of Collaborations’ session featuring Zikomo, S.Fidelity , Morena Leraba and Bonj Mpanza.

The last week of Fak’ugesi Festival also hosts a special session on the Future of African Gaming on the 28th and 29th of September. A full day on gaming, this will take place in collaboration with Red Bull Basement and focus on the theme of Tech for Good. The programme includes an Indie Games Arcade; a ‘Games for Good’ workshop focused games that address issues in South African urban environment.

The workshop will be followed by a “Futures and Networking” session, inviting the gaming community in the Southern Africa region to contribute to an understanding of what and how the Fak’ugesi Festival can develop and better support African games. This invitation comes after Fak’ugesi Festival in 2018 says farewell to A MAZE. / Johannesburg, which has supported its program since 2013 as the gaming partner.

A MAZE, under the leadership of its creative director, Thorsten S. Wiedemann, linked the Johannesburg gaming scene to an international network of indie developers for six years from 2012 until 2017. The two-way bridge between A MAZE. / Berlin and A MAZE. / Johannesburg inspired other projects like Super Friendship Arcade in Cape Town and Glitch Face in Johannesburg and was a huge impetus in the development of the Game Design programme in the Wits School of Arts. When the Fak’ugesi Festival was established in 2013, A MAZE fell under Fak’ugesi Festival support as the gaming partner. Weidemann added: “It’s been amazing meeting, working and learning from the local and national game and playful media community.  We definitely made history together.”

The week’s activities culminate in a celebration at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party   on Saturday 29 September. This event will reignite the energy and spirit created at the inaugural party in a union of performance, music, technology and digital innovation. The Bloc Party aims to showcase the best in underground talent, both local and international – etching its name in the cultural textbooks as an inspiration to future generations of creators, producers and innovators. The second instalment of this ground-breaking event will host performances from the Beats Lab participants, as well as Black Milk and a strong local contingent including Langa Mavuso, Mx Blouse, Symatics + Ramz, and Micr.Pluto.

Tickets for Thursday 27 September are R50 per session and can be purchased via WeHeartBeat. There will be a limited run of R200 student tickets available for Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party, upon presentation of a valid student ID. Workshop and student tickets can be purchased throughout the week at the reception of the Tshimologong Precinct.

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