A new feature that allows TV shows and movies to be downloaded and watched while offline has been added to the ShowMax Android app. This development is of immediate benefit to commuters and people looking for entertainment while travelling, but it also has the potential to have a much wider impact. Those without access to a suitable internet connection at home, which is a significant barrier to the adoption of streaming video services in Africa, will now be able to store content using WiFi hotspots or other out-of-home connectivity options and then watch at a later point.
Speaking about this development, John Kotsaftis, General Manager of ShowMax South Africa said:
“Adding downloads is a bigger deal than it might appear at first glance. Yes, it’s a great way to keep people entertained while travelling to their hometown or to the coast for the summer holidays, but we think the potential impact is much wider.
“Many South Africans are still internet have-nots, and have been excluded from using services like ShowMax. While there may not be suitable internet access at home, more and more public WiFi services and other connectivity options are popping up. By adding download functionality we’re enabling people to take advantage of these connections and fill up on some great shows to watch later.”
Up to 25 TV shows and movies in total can be stored at any one point using the app on Android tablets and smartphones, depending on the available storage capacity on the device. The content will be visible for 30 days and once viewing of a particular show or movie has started, it will be available for completion over the next 48 hours. The same content can be downloaded again if needed.
The addition of downloads also gives consumers a way to use data allocated for night-time usage, which is often discounted or given away free with the purchase of data bundles.
“South Africa isn’t the USA or Europe – we have our own unique needs. I’m proud that we’ve developed a home-grown solution that caters for the connectivity challenges in this country. Importantly, I think this is a case that local developments have the potential to open up access to other African markets where internet connectivity is also an issue,” concludes Kotsaftis.
ShowMax is also adding download capability to its iOS apps. This is due for release early next year.