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Netflix vs ShowMax: The showdown

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TV, in South Africa, is not quite dead yet. But it’s certainly headed that way thanks to the rise of on- demand video streaming services.

Netflix Versus ShowMax

Being the top two ‘paid TV’ options in South Africa, we put together a summary of the pros and cons of both Netflix and ShowMax.

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The Top Four Streaming Sites in South Africa

There are quite a few video streaming services available locally. They do not, however, have the same breadth of content as their international counterparts. The local scene is dominated by the big names in the industry.

1. Google Play Movies

Google’s video on demand (VoD) service is preloaded onto pretty much every Android device currently available. This makes it accessible to a vast majority of mobile users.

The app requires you to create an account in order to use the service. If you’re an Android user, however, then it will associate the account with your Android login details (which are used for all Google services on an Android device).

The app opens on the “Watch Now” section and shows Top Selling Movies and New Releases amongst other categories.

Watching something is as simple as selecting whether you’d like to rent or purchase the movie and then downloading it to your device, or streaming it on a compatible device.

Rentals can be done in either SD or HD. HD titles only play on certain devices though.

The South African version of the app is, unfortunately, still very limited in terms of content. But there are quite a few recently-released titles available for rent or purchase.

The app is available on Android and iOS.

App cost: Free.

2. iTunes

If you’re a Mac or iOS user, then you know all about iTunes. Yes, it is available on Windows PCs, but the experience isn’t the same.

iTunes is most well-known for having revolutionised the music industry. Yet, beyond it being a great place to buy music, it also has movies and TV shows.

If you’re using the South African iTunes store then, unfortunately, you won’t be able to purchase or rent any TV shows, but you will be able to get movies.

Movies can either be purchased or rented in SD or HD and then watched on compatible devices. The number of devices that you can watch the movie on varies between titles and is dependant on licensing agreements between Apple and the content provider. This same rule applies to which content can be rented and/or purchased (not all titles can be rented, most can only be purchased).

The selection is bigger than that found on Google Play Movies but is still limited when compared to international versions of the service.

Compatible with Mac and iOS as well as Windows PCs.

App cost: Free.

3. Netflix

Netflix is the global leader in video on demand streaming and when the service launched in South Africa in January 2016, many people rejoiced.

As is the case with pretty much every video streaming service in South Africa, content is limited and the much coveted Netflix Originals range of series is not available locally.

Netflix also does not allow downloading, which means that whenever you want to watch something, you’ll need to be connected to the internet.

Netflix is available on a wide range of devices from set top boxes to smart TVs, tablets, laptops and smartphones.

Cost: ranges from R111 p/m to R167 p/m ($7.99 p/m to $11.99 p/m)

4. ShowMax

ShowMax launched in South Africa before Netflix reached our shores, which has clearly worked out for them. The service is the overwhelming favourite of many South African video on demand aficionados.

The service has both movies and TV series and allows you to stream and/or download content. This means you can still watch your favourite shows when you don’t have an internet connection (definitely handy on planes).

It doesn’t have exactly the same titles as Netflix, but it is continuously growing its offerings.

Available on multiple devices including smartphones, select smart TVs and PCs / Macs.

Cost : R99 p/m

* Source: CompareGuru

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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