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ShowMax is now on Android TV

Posted by radio On December - 7 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

With the release of a new version of its Android app, ShowMax has increased the base of supported devices to include media players and smart TVs running Android TV. ShowMax is now available on an even wider range of smart TVs as well as smartphones, tablets, web browsers, Apple TV (4th generation), Android media players, and the DStv Explora (in South Africa). ShowMax is also compatible with Chromecast and AirPlay.

ShowMax-logo-600x400

 

ShowMax has released an updated Android app which now supports Android TV devices. This gives two new ways to watch ShowMax – either through a compatible Android media player or on a smart TV running Android TV software.

Speaking about this, Barron Ernst, Chief Product Officer for ShowMax said:

“Our engineering department has been working flat-out to increase the number of devices that can play ShowMax, and this is the fifth major expansion since we launched ShowMax just over a year ago. It means that anyone with a compatible Android media player or smart TV running Android software can access ShowMax without having to invest in any new equipment.”

 

 

The main additions to the new ShowMax Android app that enable TV usage are:

Android TV user interface optimised for large screen layout

Support added for remote control input

Support for higher resolution video

 

 

The Android TV operating system was launched by Google in June 2014 and designed to either be built directly into smart TVs or support stand-alone media players. These media players can then be plugged into standard TVs to impart smart TV capabilities.

 

 

In order to run ShowMax, Android devices must be running Android 4.1.0 (Jelly Bean) or higher.

To add ShowMax to an Android device, simply launch the Google Play Store app from the device, search for ShowMax, and install the free app. If ShowMax doesn’t appear in the search results then the device is not supported.

 

Once the ShowMax app has launched, sign in with the email address and password used to subscribe to ShowMax. For more information on how to subscribe to ShowMax, visit www.showmax.com.

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Naspers continue to deliver good results

Posted by radio On November - 29 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Naspers recently announced its financial results for the six months to 30 September 2016. Revenues, measured on an economic interest basis (including the proportionate contribution from associates and joint ventures), increased 16% year on year to US$6,8bn. Excluding acquisitions, disposals and currency movements, revenue growth was 27%. Businesses outside South Africa contributed 80% of revenues, up from 75% a year ago.

 

naspersCore headline earnings grew 31% to US$914m. “We experienced a satisfactory first six months to the financial year,” said Naspers chair Koos Bekker. “The ecommerce businesses and Tencent performed well, while video entertainment and print did their best in a pretty tough environment.”

 

As part of regular portfolio reviews, Naspers concluded four notable ecommerce transactions. In Poland, the agreed sale of Allegro for US$3,25bn will realise a solid return on investment. In India, the merger of the ibibo platform with MakeMyTrip will create a leading business in the travel segment. The acquisition of Citrus Pay drives consolidation in the online payments space in India, whilst in the United States, the consolidation with Wallapop gives mobile-only classifieds platform letgo increased scale.

 

Naspers now reports in United States dollars (US$), with the financial performances of the businesses consolidated in their functional currencies and translated into US$. Where pertinent, performance in local currencies, adjusted for acquisitions and disposals, is quoted in brackets after the equivalent International Financial Reporting Standards metrics.

 

Currency again impacted our results. In the video entertainment segment, which typically earns local currencies but incurs significant US$ costs, currency affected both revenues and profitability. However, in the ecommerce segment, currency movements are diffused by the group’s diverse geographic spread and the fact that costs are mainly in local currencies.

 

Revenues in the internet segment, which now accounts for 72% of group revenues, were up 30% (40%) to US$4,9bn. Trading profits increased 54% (71%), driven by Tencent and higher profits or contracting losses in many ecommerce units. “The group now has 23 profitable ecommerce businesses, up from 18 a year ago,” said CEO Bob van Dijk. “Classifieds delivered strong results across the portfolio, boosted in particular by Avito. Our etail, travel and payments businesses all performed well.”

 

The digital terrestrial television (DTT) business and the African video entertainment group experienced the impact of weak currencies. Reported revenues of US$1,6bn were down 8% (up 6%) on the prior year and trading profit dropped 43% to US$226m. However, the team delivered a pleasing return to subscriber growth, reporting 11 million subscribers. The focus remains on giving subscribers the very best quality local and international content, while managing costs, improving customer service and retaining customers in an environment where there is intensifying competition from global players such as Amazon, Netflix, Apple and Google. ShowMax, the subscription video-on-demand service, is growing steadily.

 

The print media segment of Media24 continues to face structural declines in its traditional print business – a global phenomenon. The revenue performance of its new ecommerce initiatives was positive, benefiting from fresh product offerings.

 

The group’s share of equity-accounted results was US$912m and their contribution to core headline earnings increased 47%.

 

Consolidated free cash flow was close to neutral, due to lower profitability of the sub-Saharan Africa video entertainment business and higher consolidated development spend.

 

“The group will continue investing in long-term opportunities, and seek further promising models within the internet segment,” said CFO Basil Sgourdos. “In the US, we expect to accelerate letgo’s development spend to further strengthen its position. In video entertainment, we will battle a tough environment by reducing costs to counter the impact of falling currencies and we aim to grow DTH customers by offering increased value,” he added.

 

 

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Meet Julian von Plato – Digital Content Evangelist

Posted by radio On November - 24 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

With  the mantra “content is king” becoming more and more self-evident, there are still only a handful of digital innovators in South Africa who are truly pushing the boundaries of content creation as well as content distribution channels.

 

digevaFor nearly two decades, Julian von Plato has been at the forefront of developing digital strategies, content, and distribution platforms within the entertainment sector,  as well as for a host of corporates looking to play in this space.

 

Just within the last few months Julian and his team have launched an amazing array of mobile content including; PockitTV,  allsports TV,  Trace Presents, (the mobile version of Trace TV  on the MTN Play platform), Digital Lab Africa’s live-stream 3 day event from DISCOP JOHANNESBURG, the new VR-driven platform for content called VRinterview, and STAGE360, a new artist development and discovery platform with Trace  and Hunters.

 

With his extensive entertainment industry background, Julian understands that at its core, content must entertain. This insight, combined with his passion for the latest technology, has enabled him to reach the holy-grail of mobile content that few digital specialists have achieved; creating sustainable platforms for original African content that can be monetized on a global scale.

 

The team’s latest  success is the launching of PockitTV mobile offering that went live on the MTN Network on October 22nd. This platform will feature entirely bespoke content created specifically for mobile, and with an understanding of the local data constraints and limitations. Already, within in the first two months the platform has seen over 160 000 subcribers join at a subscription rate of of R1 per day.

 

PockitTV is Africa’s first mobile TV network aimed at providing consumers with an alternative video viewing experience that is able to be viewed anywhere anytime. PockitTV is hosted on SSTREAMM’s video streaming platform hosted on the backbone of SA’s mobile networks. This allows video to be streamed to consumers via African 3G/4G networks providing a rich consumer experience. PockitTV’s aim is to provide African content creators a platform to showcase their content and to monetize their content.

 

Another innovation from Julian and his team, STAGE360 offers content in multiple formats including Virtual Reality and has been rolled out alongside the BalconyTV Johannesburg platform. STAGE360 is a multi-platform providing new and up coming urban artists the opportunity to be discovered in ways they never thought possible. From live performance recordings to  virtual reality experience filmed in a full 360 degrees, viewers can navigate their viewing experience through an immersive interface that is the closest thing possible to being there in person.

 

BalconyTV is a streaming video platform that has proven to be a unique and unmatched opportunity for up and coming South African acts, providing them with a high quality live performance video screened to a global platform.  With over 400 videos produced and over 1million views, BalconyTV Johannesburg produces a new show every week – ensuring a steady stream of the latest South African music available anywhere, anytime. The team is also excited to be launching BalconyTV Cape Town in December 2016.

 

By combining a creative and passionate ability to source and produce content and a skill for harnessing the latest technology trends, Julian and his team  are quietly changing the landscape of digital content in the country.  His aims with these various innovations are clear, “I was once asked what is my aim in the industry and I always respond with  the same answer-  to put video on every mobile phone in Africa.”

 

With the various projects that Julian has developed, this aim is well within reach.

 

For more information on the various projects and platforms;

 

www.pockittv.mobi

www.sportvideos.co.za

www.balconytv.com/johannesburg

https://www.facebook.com/VRinterview/

https://www.facebook.com/stage360live/

 

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 17, 2016/ — Facebook (www.Facebook.com) had a strong presence at AfricaCom 2016 in Cape Town, in line with its commitment to fostering a strong relationship with its connectivity partners and application developers across Africa.In addition to hosting its first-ever African FbStart workshop for developers, Facebook also shared how it is empowering local retailers and entrepreneurs with Internet.org’s Express Wifi programme.facebookChris Daniels, VP of Internet.org at Facebook, said: “Our mission is to give people the power to share and to make the world more open and connected. Only half of the planet is on the internet – our aim with Internet.org is to connect the other half through initiatives such as Free Basics, solar-powered airplanes, satellites, and our exciting new programme, Express Wifi. According to the ITU, internet Penetration in Africa is now at 28%, but there is so much more do be done.” 

 

Express Wifi empowering local entrepreneurs

Express Wifi by Facebook empowers local entrepreneurs to provide quality internet access to their communities and make a steady income. Working with local internet service providers or mobile operators, they’re able to use software provided by Facebook to connect their communities.

 

The programme is currently live at 150 locations in five countries across two continents.

In Africa, Facebook already has partners in Tanzania, Nigeria, and South Africa, with more deployments planned soon, including Ghana.

 

“This is a sustainable approach to bringing connectivity to underserved communities in countries across Africa – it is a business model that will grow itself because it empowers entrepreneurs to serve their communities,” says Daniels.

This programme has also improved the skills of local entrepreneurs who work with Facebook and its ISP partners to build, install and maintain local wifi networks.

“We’re encouraged by the progress we’ve made – but also inspired by what we’ve seen in the community,” says Daniels. “It’s exciting to see local economies transformed by connectivity as people use the internet to enhance existing businesses or create new ones.”

 

 

First FbStart Meetup in Africa

More than 150 developers and entrepreneurs gathered for Facebook’s first FbStart event in Africa on 15 November. During this half-day event, attendees met the Facebook team, learned about Facebook platform tools for developers, and saw how Facebook works with mobile app start-ups through the FbStart programme.

 

 

“It would not be possible for us to accomplish our mission of making the world more open and connected without the help of developers and other partners in our community,” says Emeka Afigbo, Strategic Products Partnerships Manager, Facebook. “We were delighted by the excellent turnout for the workshop and excited by the possibilities of the great ideas we saw from the delegates at the FbStart event.”

 

 

Population Density Map data

Also this week, Facebook announced that it is now releasing its Population Density Map data (http://APO.af/HChwir) to the public.

Government policymakers, academics and local organisations will all benefit from access to this rich dataset, with potential applications such as socio-economic research, infrastructure planning, and risk assessment for natural disasters.

To start, Facebook has shared data sets for Malawi, South Africa, Ghana, Haiti, and Sri Lanka, and they can be found on the website of CIESIN at Columbia University. More countries will be added over the coming months.

 

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DStv announces new Explora & HD channels

Posted by radio On September - 27 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

MultiChoice is on a drive to offer their customers an ever-evolving and enhanced DStv experience. At a media briefing, held today at their Randburg offices, CEO Mark Rayner said, ‘We’re making additional channels available in HD, streamlining packages to deliver more fresh entertainment daily and extending our Catch Up Plus catalogue to over 1 000 movies. We’re actively managing the DStv service to ensure our customers get the most value for money.’

 newexplora_original

Satellite launch

 

On 24 August, MultiChoice launched a new satellite, IS36, which will provide additional capacity. This means MultiChoice can start offering additional services. The new satellite will also act as a back-up to the existing IS20 satellite.

 

DStv channel changes

 

During the month of October and November, certain DStv packages will undergo changes and customers will get more channels in crystal clear HD. It’s all part of a process aimed at refining channel offerings based on customer feedback and viewing behaviour.

 

9 DStv channels will change to HD

These will include some of the best loved M-Net channels such as M-Net Movies All Stars, M-Net Family, VUZU, Mzansi Wethu and kykNET & Kie as well as certain international favourites such as BBC First, HISTORY, Crime & Investigation and Food Network.

 

 

More channels will be added to other DStv packages

DStv Extra customers will get ITV Choice HD and Lifetime, DStv Family customers will pick up M-Net Movies Stars HD, while DStv EasyView customers will receive Jim Jam and Mzansi Music.

DStv Extra customers will also be able to enjoy the specialist language channels: RAI, BVN, RTPI, TV5 Monde and Deutsche Welle

 

The following channels will stop airing from end of October: CBS Action and Drama, AMC and True Movies.

 

General Manager for Content, Aletta Alberts, explained the rationale behind these changes. ‘Our focus is to bring our customers the best entertainment possible. We do research every month to understand what they’re watching and what they’d like to watch. This research helped us identify some channels that weren’t popular or that had the same content as other existing channels.

 

‘We also use this research to understand what we can do to improve the channels we have. This year alone, we’ve enhanced the offering on a number of channels – M-Net Movie Channels, M-Net City and M-Net Family, ITV Choice, FOX Entertainment, VIA, Discovery Family and Discovery IDx to name but a few. This means our customers will be seeing fresher content on a more regular basis.’

 

Make sure to check out our series reccomendation page to find a series perfectly suited for you to enjoy.

 

New DStv Explora launched

 

Our flagship Explora decoder has significantly enhanced the viewing experience for our customers. In a world where connected television services are becoming more commonplace, the Explora enables customers to connect their decoders and get access to an extended catalogue of content on DStv Catch Up Plus and ShowMax.

 

We want to give more of our customers the Explora experience without having to worry about expensive data costs. So we created a decoder with the same features and services as our current Explora, with a streamlined hard drive to keep it affordable.

 

Nyiko Shiburi, Group General Manager for Broadcast Technology, said ‘Our new Explora uses the latest video compression technology, which means our customers will in future spend less on data when they connect their new Explora to the internet.’

 

 

 

The new Explora has the same extensive Catch Up service, the ability to rent up to 30 BoxOffice movies and internet connectivity for Catch Up Plus, Remote Recording and ShowMax. This extensive content catalogue means our customers are recording less on their Exploras, which is why we’ve made the hard drive smaller to keep the decoder affordable. Customers can record up to 80 hours of HD content on their personal playlist (current Explora has 150 hours of HD recordings).

 

‘We believe the sheer volume of content available on our Catch Up, Catch Up Plus and ShowMax services, offers our customers an unparalleled entertainment experience. And the streamlined version means we can continue to offer all our customers the chance to own an Explora at an affordable price, despite our weakened Rand,’ continued Nyiko.

 

The new Explora gets a new A7 remote control, which incorporates features that customers have asked for. These include backlit buttons, which enables users to see it in the dark, the ability to easily program it as a universal remote for your TV and music system, and a ShowMax button for one-touch access.

 

Nyiko confirmed, ‘The Explora is our flagship decoder and we’ll continue to enhance it with further developments for many years to come.’

 

The new DStv Explora will retail at R1 499 and this price will be fixed until the end of 2017. Click here for offer options for the new DStv Explora you can look forward to.

 

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After launching on Apple TV and adding AirPlay support to iOS devices, ShowMax has now added Chromecast support to its Android app, making it possible to broadcast shows and movies directly from Android smartphones and tablets to big-screen TVs. It’s the perfect solution for anyone who doesn’t have a smart TV but still wants to sit back and watch ShowMax.

 

ShowMax, the internet TV service with the largest subscription video catalogue in Africa, has added new functionality to its Android app that makes it possible to broadcast TV shows and movies directly from smartphones and tablets to big-screen TVs. It’s an ideal solution for anyone who doesn’t have a smart TV but still wants to watch ShowMax on a big screen.

 

Chromecast is a media streaming device that plugs into the HDMI port present on most big-screen TVs. Chromecast is one of a number of different devices that effectively turn normal TVs into smart TVs. By enabling Chromecast support on the ShowMax app, owners of Android smartphones and tablets can ‘cast’ ShowMax TV shows and movies via Wifi to the Chromecast player which in turn seamlessly displays the same content on the big-screen TV.

 

Mike Raath, Chief Technology Officer for ShowMax said:

 

“There are times that all we want to do is sit back on the couch and take in a good movie. With this new functionality it’s as simple as finding the show on your Android smartphone or tablet and pressing play – it’ll be on the TV instantly.

 

“We’re on a roll. This is the third new viewing option we’ve added in recent weeks. Having launched on Apple TV and adding AirPlay support to our app for iPhones and iPads in early March, and there’s more to come. One way or the other, we aim to have a solution for anyone wanting to watch ShowMax using whichever device is most convenient.”

 

In order to access this new Chromecast functionality on smartphones and tablets, the devices need to be running Android 4.1.0 (Jelly Bean) or higher and the latest version of the ShowMax Android app.

 

To sign up for ShowMax and experience a seven-day risk-free trial, visit www.showmax.com via web browser on a laptop or desktop computer. Once signed up, download the ShowMax app on your favourite Android and iOS devices and log-in using the same email address and password.

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Prepaid vouchers for ShowMax are now available at all Makro stores nationwide. Makro joins Pick n Pay, CNA and Game stores where ShowMax vouchers can be purchased.

ShowMax-logo-600x400

Vouchers are available for one, three and six months.

Prices are R99 (one month), R297 (three months), and R594 (six months).

The voucher can be purchased with cash and activated at the store.

Once activated at the till the voucher can be captured on the ShowMax website.

 

ShowMax continues to partner with local businesses to improve access to internet TV in South Africa. With prepaid vouchers now available at Makro, Game, CNA and Pick n Pay stores, this gives access to many viewers who do not have a credit card or PayPal account. Prepaid vouchers can also be bought online using eBucks.

 

One of the major obstacles holding back the uptake of internet TV in South Africa is the cost of internet. Which is why ShowMax is partnering with internet service providers (ISPs), like Telkom, to give subscribers access to high-speed internet at an affordable price.

 

John Kotsaftis, CEO at ShowMax said:

 

“These partnerships are a big deal for us to give users a really convenient experience. The in-store vouchers are about giving subscribers more options to pay. For the ISPs it’s about looking at ways to give our users fast internet at a fair price to stream and download ShowMax content.”

 

Through these partnerships and unique features, like the download function to overcome sporadic internet connectivity, ShowMax is addressing real consumer needs in South Africa to break down the  barriers holding back the proliferation of internet TV.

 

“We are developing ShowMax to address specific challenges in the South African market like the fact that many consumers don’t have a credit card. The same applies to the lack of internet connectivity, which is why our app supports downloads.”

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GUAPTunes launches with 1GB free data from AlwaysOn

Posted by radio On November - 11 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

New mobile music and video application gives you the power to control your data use

There’s a new digital music player that lets you create your own personal mobile music and video channel – and it gives you the power to choose how much data you use.

GuapAlwaysOn-Collab

GUAPTunes is a homegrown app that’s free to download from the Android store, and the first 20,000 downloads will also receive one gigabyte of free data from AlwaysOn, a Wi-Fi internet services provider, as a welcome gift.

 

 

“GUAPTunes is a hybrid between music television and YouTube, all presented on a custom-built music-focussed mobile platform,” says founder Jerome Pikwane, an award-winning graduate of New York’s Film Academy. “It puts all the awesomeness of the music industry at your fingertips, while giving you the power to actively manage your data consumption and expenses.”

 

GUAPTunes lets you control your data consumption, as you can manipulate and select part of the video stream without affecting the quality of sound production. It also offers a personalised audio option, which lets you to listen to your favourite music as an audio-only file, reducing data consumption even further. There’s also a blog that shares all the latest news in the local and international music industries.

 

“We hate billing surprises as much as music lovers do, and using GUAPTunes gives you the power to stay connected to your tunes at all times, while keeping control of your budget,” says Hayden Lamberti, managing director of AlwaysOn. “At AlwaysOn, we’re delighted to partner with GUAPTunes to give music fans more tunes for their money.”

 

 

‘GUAP’ is street slang for wealth or abundance, and music fans will have access to rich resources of hip hop, R&B, kwaito and house created by artists all over the world. Fans should follow @GuapTunes on Twitter or find GuapTunes on Facebook for more information about the app, the community, and how to enjoy more of their favourite music for less data charges.

 

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MTN slash FrontRow subscription price

Posted by radio On August - 7 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Save R60 on an MTN FrontRow Club subscription

frow

 

MTN FrontRow Club subscription now costs only R119 a month on any mobile network – that’s an early Christmas gift of R60 a month. Even better, if you’re an MTN subscriber, you get free data for streaming too!

 

New subscribers are already being charged the lower amount, while current subscribers will be moved to the new price this month.

 

So what do you get for your R119? You can choose from a huge range of TV series or movies from our ever-growing catalogue to watch whenever you like, on any of your digital devices and on any mobile network.

 

Exclusive to MTN FrontRow Club are the acclaimed drama series Power (we have episodes of season two just 24 hours after their US debut) and Black Sails. Other current TV highlights include The Honourable Woman; Sherlock; Castle; and the original Australian version of The Slap.

 

The MTN FrontRow Club movie selection has hundreds of all-time favourites and evergreen classics. Watch titles such as Erin Brockovich; Good Will Hunting; Stand by Me; Sin City; and Identity.

 

Then there are plenty of TV shows and films for the kids; a treasure trove of new and older music videos in popular genres; and beautifully made documentaries … you’ll never be bored again.

Meanwhile, renting a blockbuster or silver-screen classic on MTN FrontRow Premiere will still cost as little as R15 a film – with or without an MTN FrontRow Club subscription and on any mobile network. MTN subscribers using MTN FrontRow Premiere will also now enjoy free data for streaming.

 

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Naspers post strong results again

Posted by radio On June - 29 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Naspers today announced financial results for the year ended 31 March 2015

 

Progress across platforms

 

naspersOn an economic-interest basis, revenue grew 26% to R132,4bn, driven by growth across the internet, ecommerce and video-entertainment (previously pay-television) segments.

 

Core headline earnings, an indication of sustainable earnings performance, grew 30% to R11,2bn, mainly due to increased earnings contributions from Tencent and some profitable ecommerce businesses. Core headline earnings per share amounted to R27,82 and a dividend increase of 11% to R4,70 per share is proposed.

 

“We improved our internet and video-entertainment platforms,” said Naspers chair, Koos Bekker. “In a few key markets we strengthened people, technology, content or marketing. However, competition is tough and global, while some emerging economies are struggling and consumers feel the pinch.”

 

“The combination of populous markets and attractive platforms for ecommerce and content delivery, suggest growth potential for the years ahead,” said Naspers CEO, Bob van Dijk. “We are investing in proven business models that can become cash generators if executed well,” he added.

 

In ecommerce, both classifieds and etail saw growth, resulting in revenues increasing 36% to R27,8bn. Tencent in China was the main contributor to the group’s share of equity accounted results growing to R16,4bn.

 

The video-entertainment division produced consistent performance. Revenues increased 17% to R42,4bn, whilst a step-up in development spend on the DTT business resulted in margin pressure. The DTT subscriber base doubled to close at 2,2m customers. Some 727 000 DTH subscribers were added to bring the DTH base to almost 8m subscribers. In total, the group now serves around 10,2m households in 50 countries across the African continent.

 

The print-media segment saw the listing of printing business Novus in March 2015. This segment managed to deliver only marginal revenue growth, while continuing to develop young revenue streams in internet and ecommerce.

 

“We aim to deliver great customer experiences in order to grow ahead of our competitors and expand markets. This is reflected in the development spend (including those of equity-accounted ecommerce investments) which increased by 33% to R10,7bn,” said Basil Sgourdos, group CFO.

 

 

 

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