Video streaming service ShowMax has added the ability to download TV show and movies for offline viewing to its Android app and promises the feature will come to Apple devices soon. User can download up to 25 pieces of content, which can be either episodes of TV series or movies.
The downloaded content remains in the app for up to 30 days, but once a particular show or movie is started the user has 48 hours to finish watching it before it disappears. Users can, of course, download the same content again should they wish to and the same stipulations and limitations will apply.
It’s a shrewd move from ShowMax. Not only does is make the service more useful and appealing to those who travel and may be offline for extended periods, but it adds the possibility of attracting users who only have access to uncapped broadband intermittently — something that’s still pretty common in South Africa.
“Adding downloads is a bigger deal than it might appear at first glance,” says John Kotsaftis, GM of ShowMax South Africa. “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 Wi-Fi 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.”
South African operators love bundling data or airtime with off-peak specials, and with ShowMax’s new feature consumers can take advantage of these offers to download content. Given how many people rely on mobile data alone, it’s a pretty savvy move from Naspers’ streaming offering.
ShowMax recently announced it was adding an option for international users to view its catalogue of Afrikaans content, suggesting the company plans to expand well beyond the confines of South Africa. Kotsaftis’s comments echo this. “I’m proud that we’ve developed a home-grown solution that caters for the connectivity challenges in this country,” he says. “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.”
Last week the company also announced that it has partnered with Telkom to zero-rate data used for ShowMax on certain connectivity packages. With ShowMax trying to get a strong foothold locally before Netflix lands (legitimately), we’re expecting plenty of additional news from the company in coming months.