(Image source: Showmax)

  • Multichoice increases funding for Showmax to compete with Netflix in the streaming industry.
  • Multichoice forms a strategic partnership with Comcast and NBCUniversal to enhance Showmax's capabilities.
  • Showmax receives R3.3 billion in funding to improve user experience, expand content offerings, and compete effectively.

Multichoice, a leading African broadcasting company recently made headlines with its strategic move to increase funding for its streaming platform, Showmax. This move comes in response to the growing competition in the streaming industry, particularly from giants like Netflix. With Netflix experiencing a surge in its subscriber base, the question arises: Can increased funding on Showmax help Multichoice match and outfox competition?

Multichoice has been a dominant player in the African broadcasting industry for years, offering a wide range of television and entertainment services. However, the rise of streaming platforms has presented new challenges for the company. In response, Multichoice has been investing in Showmax, its own streaming service, to stay relevant in the evolving market.

Multichoice's partnership with Comcast Corporation's subsidiary, NBCUniversal Media, LLC, and Sky aims to propel Showmax as the leading streaming service in Africa. This partnership brings together the expertise, content, and technology of these industry giants, creating an opportunity for Showmax to offer world-class entertainment and capture a significant market share in sub-Saharan Africa.

MultiChoice has clarified that both Showmax owners are contributing funding in proportion to their shareholding, ensuring that their equity stakes remain at 70% for MultiChoice and 30% for NBCUniversal. In March 2023, MultiChoice announced the sale of a 30% stake in Showmax to NBCUniversal, granting Showmax access to NBCUniversal's Peacock technology and a range of content from Comcast-owned entities such as Sky, Universal Pictures, and NBC. The specific amount paid by NBCUniversal for its stake in Showmax has not been disclosed by either MultiChoice or Comcast.

To support the growth and development of Showmax, Multichoice and Comcast have committed significant funding. The recent announcement reveals that both companies are injecting substantial equity funding into Showmax, with a total amount of R3.3 billion (approximately USD $177 million). This funding will be utilized to enhance the platform's capabilities, secure licensing rights, and expand its content library.

Netflix's recent success in expanding its subscriber base highlights the intense competition in the streaming industry. The increased funding for Showmax positions Multichoice to better compete with Netflix and other streaming platforms.

Showmax has the advantage of local market expertise and existing infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa. Multichoice's strong presence in the region, along with its portfolio of general entertainment and sports rights licenses, gives Showmax a competitive edge. Additionally, the strategic partnership with Comcast and NBCUniversal opens doors for accessing premium content and leveraging their technological expertise.

The injection of R3.3 billion into Showmax signifies Multichoice's commitment to the platform's growth and its determination to capture a significant market share. This increased funding will allow Showmax to enhance its user experience, expand its content offerings, and improve its overall competitiveness.

By investing in content acquisition and production, Showmax can curate a diverse and compelling library, catering to the preferences of African viewers. Furthermore, the funding will enable Showmax to explore innovative features, improve streaming quality, and invest in marketing initiatives to reach a wider audience.

Multichoice's increased funding on Showmax demonstrates the company's determination to compete with streaming giants like Netflix. The strategic partnership with Comcast and NBCUniversal, along with the injection of R3.3 billion, provides Showmax with the resources and capabilities to offer a differentiated streaming experience to African consumers.

While Netflix's recent subscriber surge poses a challenge, Netflix sign-ups boomed at the end of last year as customers prodded by the firm's crackdown on password-sharing created their own accounts.Netflix added more than 13.1 million subscriptions in the three months ended in December 2023. Multichoice's deep understanding of the African market, extensive content rights, and the financial backing for Showmax create a promising outlook. The success of Showmax will depend on its ability to leverage the increased funding effectively, deliver high-quality content, and offer a seamless streaming experience to attract and retain subscribers.

As the streaming landscape continues to evolve, Multichoice's investment in Showmax positions the company to remain a key player in Africa's rapidly growing streaming market.

This article was first published in The Axis