Cell C, Vodacom and MTN have all announced new data offerings designed to increase use of social media and streaming services on their networks.
Cell C has announced that, for the next three months, it will offer all customers free streaming on black, SA’s newest video-on-demand platform. Cell C customers can stream series, movies, music, kids’ entertainment, sport, news, and live TV channels on their mobile devices without being.
“We know the biggest hurdle to gaining access to streaming content is the data component, and so for the next three months, any existing or new black customer that is also on the Cell C network will not have to have data to be able to download or stream their shows,” says Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos.
Any Cell C customer, whether prepaid or contract, will have access to this promotion, which kicks off on 7 May and will run until Friday, 10 August. There is no opt in required. In other words, browsing the black platform has also been zero rated, so customers looking around to see what is available will also not be charged for data if they are on Cell C. However, clicking through to the betting platform and the ticketing service will be charged according to the customer’s data plan. National data roaming is also not included in this promotion. so black customers that are on other networks will not benefit from the free data promotion.
“Our promise to our customer is the affordability and flexibility to pay what you want; for what you want; however long you want. Go on, sign up for the 7-day free trial, and start binge-ing with black,” says black Chief Executive, Surie Ramasary.
Customers can watch blockbuster movies like Star Wars: The Last Jedi; kids’ animated movie Ferdinand; and the comedy-remake, Jumanji, starring Dwayne Johnson. black series include the multiple award winning show The Fixer, starring Kerry Washington.
With flexible packages from R25 per movie rental or R5 per day for a whole day streaming a football club channel, customers have a range of options.
MTN goes social
MTN has introduced a range of social bundles starting from R1 a day. The bundles give new and existing customers affordable access to four social media platforms, namely WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Customers can use the social bundle data allocation without affecting their regular in-bundle data. The bundles cover daily, weekly and monthly expiry rates, allowing customers to choose bundles best suited for their specific usage needs and their budgets.
“There’s been a marked increase in the consumption of social media and data services, so these social bundles are designed to meet those changing customer needs,” says Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive for Corporate Affairs: MTN South Africa. “By offering a variety of expiry periods, we put the control in the hands of our customers, so they can choose to buy just for the day or to stay connected for a week or a month.”
Moderate users can stay in touch with family and friends via WhatsApp for as little as R1 per day, while more medium and heavy users can opt for social bundles that retail at R5 and R10.
To give the customer more control over their usage, the social bundles will send notifications confirming bundle purchase, expiry and depletion notifications.
The social bundles are available on the MyMTN app or via USSD.
The table below illustrates the social bundle rates:
Tickets for Vodacom
Meanwhile, Vodacom is introducing a data bundle called “Ticket”, which offers overall usage of a range of apps, through categorised bundles, to Prepaid and Hybrid (Top-up) customers through the Vodacom Just4U platform. Ticket bundles offer up to four times the amount of data compared to standard bundles and are also priced for the best scenario, offering data bundles that are specifically tailored to the usage behaviour of the customer.
“Vodacom Ticket will offer customers a simpler way of accessing data bundles for a range of categories, allowing them to stay within their data budget,” says Nyimpini Mabunda, Vodacom’s Chief Officer: Consumer Business Unit.” Vodacom is continuously looking to deliver value for money offerings to our customers, and Ticket is no different. Our customers can engage in the things they love the most without the fear of spending more than they wanted to. That is what Vodacom’s Ticket bundle is ultimately looking to achieve so watch this space as we continue to evolve the product.“
Vodacom says it has formed partnerships with multiple market-leading streaming and digital apps to ensure that customers receive the best value for their data when posting pictures, watching videos, playing games and listening to music.
The service provides full data access to digital and entertainment content through four Ticket categories:
· Video Ticket (for VuClip Videos, DStv, Netflix, YouTube and Showmax)
· Music Ticket (for Deezer, Apple Music and Joox)
· Social Ticket (for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter)
· Gaming Ticket (for VuClip Games, Vlive Games, SGN and Gamemine)
By partnering with app brands that customers enjoy the most, says Vodacom, it is able to give customers access to what they love, for less, without the limitation of restricted data access to a single pre-assigned app.
For instance, customers looking to binge on the latest series on Netflix, “update their tweeps on their tweleb lifestyles” (Vodacom’s words!) or listen to a hot new track on Deezer, can purchase a Ticket for any of the four available categories via Just4U by dialling *123# from a Vodacom Smartphone. Vodacom’s Ticket bundles enable customers to access platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, through a single Social Ticket.
Netflix to make SA series
The world leader in streaming movies has announced the first South African production to join its Originals roster.
World leader in entertainment streaming services Netflix this week announced its first Original series in Africa, with South African series Queen Sono.
The news comes immediately in the wake of local rival Showmax announcing it’s first original drama production. In this context, it heralds a new phase in the evolution of streaming video-on-demand in South Africa.
The action-packed series follows Queen Sono, the highly trained top spy in a South African agency whose purpose is to better the lives of African citizens. While taking on her most dangerous mission yet, she must also face changing relationships in her personal life. The series will be created by Director, Kagiso Lediga and Executive producer Tamsin Andersson.
South African actress, Pearl Thusi, will star as Queen Sono, with the character having been created with her in mind. Thusi is also known for her performance in the romantic dramedy, Catching Feelings, available on Netflix.
“We are excited to be working with Kagiso and Pearl, to bring the story of Queen Sono to life, and we expect it to be embraced by our South African users and global audiences alike.” said Erik Barmack, Vice President of International Original Series at Netflix.
“We are delighted to create this original series with Netflix, and are super excited by their undeniable ability to take this homegrown South African story to a global audience. We believe Queen Sono will kick the door open for more awesome stories from this part of the world” added the director and executive producer of the series, Kagiso Lediga.
The series is due to start production in 2019.
Showmax shoots its first local drama
Showmax has completed filming its first commissioned drama, as it builds out its roster of original content.
The Girl From St Agnes, Showmax’s first original drama, wrapped on 28 November 2018 after filming in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and Johannesburg. The eight-part whodunnit premieres on Showmax on 31 January 2019. It is the second series in a programme designed to build out its roster of exclusive, original content.
As Netflix takes hold as South Africa’s preferred streaming video-on-demand service, Showmax owner MultiChoice has made a string of strategic announcements designed to take the DStv paid satellite broadcasting service into the streaming era. Original content is critical to this strategy, as Netflix is on track to become the world’s biggest movie studio.
Showmax is available in 70 countries.
“Our first Original – last year’s light-hearted comedy Tali’s Wedding Diary – had the most successful launch day of any series on Showmax ever,” says Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Showmax. “This is a complete change of direction: The Girl From St Agnes is a dark murder mystery that will keep you guessing and taps into the current conversations in South Africa about #metoo and teen sexuality.”
At St Agnes, a prestigious all-girls boarding school in the Midlands, a popular and beautiful student is found dead at the base of the old mill. Fearful of the scandal it might cause, the school is quick to declare the death of Lexi Summerveld a tragic accident.
But drama teacher Kate Ballard doesn’t believe it. On the night of her death, an upset Lexi had been trying to contact her, and Kate had ignored her. Now wracked with guilt, Kate attempts to piece together the terrible truth.
The more she investigates, the more Kate realises that she didn’t know Lexi or the school at all. Behind the imposing walls of St Agnes, Lexi’s killer won’t be the only person exposed…
Newcomer Jane De Wet was handpicked to play Lexi by legendary South African casting director Moonyeenn Lee (Tsotsi), who’s been nominated for two Emmy Awards in the last three years, for The Looming Tower and Roots.
Kate is played by Nina Milner, who modelled for Vogue Germany and at Paris Fashion Week last year and most recently starred in Troy: Fall Of A City as Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons.
Jane and Nina are joined by an impressive supporting cast that includes internationally recognised South African talent like Robert Hobbs (District9), Tyrone Keogh (24 Hours To Live), Tessa Jubber (Wallander), Karl Thaning (Dredd) and Shamilla Miller (Troy: Fall Of A City) opposite local favourites like Celeste Khumalo (The Queen), Richard Lukunku (Happiness Is A Four-Letter Word), Zakeeya Patel (High Rollers), Graham Hopkins (The Lab) and three-time South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) winner Jerry Mofokeng (Heist, Tsotsi), not to mention hot new talent like Paige Bonnin and Tristan de Beer.
The Girl From St Agnes is being produced by Quizzical Pictures, winners of the SAFTA for Best Drama for six of the last eight years, as well as a Peabody. Producer Harriet Gavshon, Quizzical Pictures’ managing director, is drawing on her own private school experiences, which sparked the original idea for the show. This is the first time Harriet has produced a series, rather than just executive producing, since 2009’s Hopeville, which won Best Drama and Miniseries at Rose d’Or, was nominated for an International Emmy, and was a finalist at Monte Carlo.
Catharine Cooke, who won this year’s Best Director In a TV Drama SAFTA for iNumber Number, co-directed the shoot with Cindy Lee, a commercials director helming her first drama series, having previously worked as the social media director on the Emmy-winning Black Mirror. Double SAFTA winner Gillian Breslin (Umlilo; 4Play: Sex Tips For Girls) is head writer. This makes Girl From St Agnes a rare TV series commissioned, produced, written and directed by women.
“What links Girl From St Agnes, Tali’s Wedding Diary and the other Showmax Originals in the pipeline is our aim to work with the best South African talent and be the home for brave, quirky and at times edgy local stories you wouldn’t find anywhere else,” says Candice. “Creating new characters that audiences come to love and follow is an incredibly rewarding experience and we want to establish a platform for more ‘Tali’s’ across varied genres.”
All eight episodes can be binged on Showmax from 31 January 2019.