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Showmax set to partner with Comcast in new mega-streaming service

South African media group MultiChoice is partnering with Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Sky to create and launch a new mega-streaming service in Africa. The new service will operate as Showmax – with the current Showmax structure being overhauled completely.

MultiChoice in a statement on Thursday said the agreement will see the companies form a new partnership to bring content and technology to streaming customers across MultiChoice’s 50-market footprint in sub-Saharan Africa.

The new group will be called the Earth UK and will trade as the Showmax Group and run on Peacock’s globally-scaled technology. The new company will be 70 per cent owned by MultiChoice and 30 per cent by NBCUniversal.

“It will build on Showmax’s success to date and strive to create the leading streaming service in Africa,” MultiChoice said.

It will combine MultiChoice’s investment in local content with international content licensed from NBCUniversal and Sky. This will then be complemented by third-party content from HBO, Warner Brothers International, Sony and others, as well as live English Premier League (EPL) football.

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In addition, it will offer access to all MultiChoice’s African content, such as Showmax Originals and local content from MultiChoice’s proprietary channels, including Mzansi Magic, Africa Magic and Maisha Magic.

“Although Africa has lagged somewhat, it is now approaching an inflection point in terms of broadband connectivity and affordability. While Multichoice continues to invest in its linear pay-TV businesses to drive growth and increased penetration, it believes that this is an appropriate time to step up its ambition and investment in the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) /over-the-top (OTT) segment,” the statement said.

MultiChoice launched Showmax as the first African streaming service in 2015, and it is currently one of the leading streaming platforms on the continent.

The Showmax team has been growing both its paying and add-to-bill subscriber bases, delivering strong audience engagement through unique programming.

It has delivered several market innovations around content downloads, adaptive bitrates and compression, as well as low-end device support. Through its technology solutions, Showmax is able to accept payments in more local currencies and from more payment platforms than any other streaming service across the continent.

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Last year, Showmax released Kenya’s first Christmas feature film, a crime series based in Kibera, a high-stakes political thriller series set in a fictional county, and a thriller series that starred Serah Ndanu and Blessing Lung’aho.

The releases followed the release of Crime and Justice seasons 1 and 2, the film Baba Twins, and the drama series Single Kiasi also streaming its second season.

Last week, the streaming channel premiered The Real Housewives of Nairobi which claimed the top spot of its Top 10 most-watched the moment and also broke streaming records for most first-day views on Showmax in Kenya.

The first episode of The Real Housewives of Nairobi was the most-watched premiere ever for any title on Showmax in Kenya.

The Real Housewives of Nairobi follows a group of dynamic women – Susan Kaittany, Vera Sidika, Sonal Maherali, Minne Kariuki, and Lisa Christoffersen – as they navigate their lavish lifestyles, relationships and careers in Nairobi.

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