Introducing DEOD, South Africa's niche video streaming service - Stuff

Introducing DEOD, South Africa’s niche video streaming service

Introducing DEOD, South Africa’s niche video streaming service

There’s a new video streaming service in town called DEOD that offers users the choice of TV news, sports, on-demand TV shows and movies, and the option to rent the latest films. The service is available via web browser, or on Android and iOS devices. DEOD is the brainchild of Discover Digital, which says it plans to take the service to other African markets (Zimbabwe, Zambia and East Africa in particular) by partnering with local telcos.

DEOD’s not so much pitching itself as an alternative to South Africa’s dominant broadcaster DStv — which owns the rights to the majority of big name sporting events and news channels — but instead as a broadcaster of niche content, from watersports (ahem) and motorsports to sports education content and, err, regional news stations like Russia Today.

The biggest challenges we see DEOD facing? First, it’s streams will only be in SD at first (though it promises HD will follow, and it has the rights for them). Second, when the company says it’s focusing on “niche” content it really means it (more on that below). Third, our phones and laptops keep autocorrecting its name to “DEAD” (awks). And finally, the potential local market for video streaming is limited to those people with high-speed internet… and that’s a pretty small chunk of the population.

Also, while support or AirPlay, Chromecast and Smart TV apps is “coming”, it won’t be available at launch. Also in the pipeline is an electronic programme guide for internet TV channels, a catch-up service, PVR in the cloud. How appealing DEOD turns out to be may well depend on how quickly these features are brought to market and how slick they are. After all, if you can afford a decent internet connection and a streaming service subscription you’re not going to settle for SD content, now are you?

Pricing starts at R49/month for the News Service, which currently includes Al Jazeera, Africanews, Euronews, Bloomberg, Russia Today, and France24, with BBC World Service set to follow in coming weeks. The next tier is R99/month for the Sports Service, which includes the Motorvision motorsports channel, Sportskool, Channel Edge HD extreme sports, Fightbox HD, and the Nautical Sailing and Boating Channel (nope, we’ve never heard of any of those, either, but then, sportsing isn’t our strong suit).

At the top end, there’s the R189/month Premium Package, which includes all news and sports channels and a selection of series, music videos and on-demand movies. Pay-per-view movies, meanwhile, cost between R18 and R30. Users who only want access to certain channels for specific events can buy short-term Premium Subscriptions which cost R49 for a weekend, or R69 for a week.

What DEOD does seem to have done well is securing rights to motorsports, fighting/martial arts and extreme sports. So if those are your bag (and let’s be frank, these are all very popular in South Africa), it might be worth a look. Also, it offers some interesting features, like the ability to schedule downloads of content for later, offline viewing so that subscribers can take advantage of data deals.

DEOD also promises to support a range of payment options. From credit cards and debit orders to voucher payments and, eventually, the option to pay using mobile money solutions or through partnerships with telcos. Curiously, DEOD’s first South African partnership isn’t with a telco, but instead with hotel chain Sun International. It says its also talking to free Wi-Fi services and, of course, local telcos, although talks with MTN recently fell through.

As a launch special, users who subscribe to any DEOD service will get the Premium service for free for a month.

Interested? The good news is you needn’t pay a cent to dig around the catalogue and see whether or not there’s the sort of content you’re after. A quick glance shows series like Suits, Weeds, Mad Men, Parks and Recreation, and House. The movie pickings are subject to the same challenges faced by Showmax and Netflix, namely that recent releases tend to take a couple of years to make it to streaming services, but there’s plenty of relatively recent (as in, the last couple of years) to choose from.

Will DEOD present a serious challenge to Netflix and Showmax? Probably not. Given streaming video subscribers tend to be high-income households with fibre internet, it’s more likely to be added to consumer’s existing VOD subscriptions rather than replace any of them.

Curious? Head over here to take a look.

 

Craig is Stuff magazine's editor. He provides tech analysis and commentary for TV stations like eNCA, CNBC Africa and BusinessDay TV, and radio stations like 702, CapeTalk, PowerFM, MetroFM and Classic FM. You can contact him via craig@stuff.co.za

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