Africa's newest SVOD service aims for global reach

A new entrant has launched into South Africa's digital entertainment arena with plans to expand to the rest of Africa, beginning with Zambia and Zimbabwe, and then to go global. Digital Entertainment on Demand (DEOD) announced the first phase of its rental and subscription video entertainment on-demand services in Johannesburg yesterday, along with a plan to serve international audiences.

Stephen Watson, Managing Director of Discover Digital says DEOD plans to export its aggressively priced offering to other parts of the world as soon as it manages to establish itself in South Africa.

"When you arrive on our site, the first thing you are asked is 'where do you live?' That is a message straight away that this service is not going to be based in South Africa only. We have plans to take it to the rest of Africa and even beyond Africa. We will largely do so in a B2B to C way. I am delighted to tell you that as I stand here today we have signed two contracts with African telcos who will support this product with their data offerings in their respective markets. Within the next few months, we will have announcements with two telcos to get this content to more Africans."

At its launch, DEOD announced that its package of news and sports Internet TV channels will be accessible through up to five devices per subscription.

In what the company says is a direct challenge to the traditional free-to-air and pay-TV services, DEOD offers content priced from R49 for the News Service and R99 for the Sports Service to R189 for the Premium Package which includes all news and sports channels, DEOD Sports Network (DSN) and a selection of series, music videos and movies on- demand.

The DEOD Rental Service also offers viewers the option to rent a selection of movies from the latest off-cinema to classics on a pay-per-view basis from R18 to R30.

"Our disruptive new model breaks the traditional broadcast and pay-TV mould by letting viewers choose the channel category packages they want and what subscription models they prefer...we also offer short-term Premium subscriptions that give viewers access just for a weekend at R49 or just a week at R69, as well as special interest channels and VOD bouquets for kids and music lovers as well as faith and inspiration-related programming," Watson explained.

Adrian Scholtz, CEO of Motorsport South Africa says DEOD channels dedicated to niche sports like motorsport and fighting will offer viewers a chance to follow interests that don't receive adequate coverage on other viewing platforms.

"I think this is fantastic and that it has huge potential. For marginal sports that don't get mainstream coverage, I think it is a great opportunity that will hopefully work out. From motorsport point of view, I think it has got legs. Motorsport is quite popular in Africa particularly when it comes to car rallying."

DEOD Sports Network (DSN) is offered in all packages includes world sports news, covering major sports championships and leagues like the Olympics, football, rugby, golf, cricket, and tennis.

Watson also revealed that DEOD payment systems will include credit cards, debit orders and voucher payment/redemption options through partnerships - as well as future mobile money and charge-to-bill options in collaboration with telcos and mobile wallet operators which could work well in African markets.

"We are in advanced discussions and we are keen to partner with telcos, loyalty programs and even broadcasters to get content to more people. We are in discussions beyond Africa, including in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. A lot of the content we have access to allows us to extend the right. We would love to be delighted to take the service beyond Africa."