ShowMax partners SEACOM for faster content delivery & less buffering, readies East Africa rollout

Nigel Gambanga Avatar
VOD Services, Showmax Africa, Pay TV Services

ShowMax, the African Video on Demand (VOD) service owned by MultiChoice’s parent company Naspers, has partnered with SEACOM, a submarine cable company and major internet bandwidth provider for East and Southern Africa.

Under the partnership SEACOM will host ShowMax caching servers in Nairobi, Kenya, allowing for peering to take place with local internet service providers (ISPs). A peering arrangement essentially places content closer to its subscribers instead of having it hosted on servers that are far away.

The result is that ShowMax subscribers who want to access any of its movies, series and shows will have faster access to the content and it will be delivered with reduced buffering.

ShowMax’s Head of Distribution, Mike Raath also outlined the cost management benefits for internet service providers (ISPs) that rely on the SEACOM undersea cable for bandwidth.

By peering with local ISPs, they’ll now be able to get ShowMax content directly rather than having to pay transit costs from servers based thousands of kilometres away. This is yet another way we’re working to make sure that ShowMax is the internet TV service listening to the needs of consumers and partners in Africa.

This peering arrangement has been described by ShowMax as part of its expansion plan for East Africa and it comes after recent statements made by Naspers Chief Executive Officer Bob Van Dijk that they would be exploring partnerships with mobile operators to boost ShowMax in a race against Netflix.

Africa’s VOD space has attracted a lot of new players in the past year and a half with ShowMax, an affiliate of Africa’s largest biggest pay TV service DStv, emerging as one of the leading providers.

It’s going up against Netflix, the global VOD giant and internet protocol TV (IPTV) poster child which opened up its services across Africa in January 2016 and has also been signing its own peering arrangements with broadband entities like ZOL, a Liquid Telecom subsidiary.

Other IPTV outfits vying for the VOD throne include Amazon’s Prime Video and Kwese TV, an Econet Global subsidiary with VOD and traditional broadcast ambitions.

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