Cell C’s Black entertainment platform offers everything from video and music streaming to concert tickets and sports betting. The service has seen impressive mobile growth since its launch in November 2017, gaining over 100,000 mobile app downloads on Android and 9,000 on iOS. Black has also grown popular across other devices, including laptops and the service’s dedicated BlackBOX set-top box.
In an interview with MyBroadband, Black chief executive Surie Ramasary said there is more to come in 2018. The platform aims to be more than just a streaming service and will offer a connected and social experience with access to multiple services, said Ramasary. Ramasary said Black is expanding its BlackBOX distribution following the launch of the device and is working on adding new features and content.
“We are looking at branching out through distribution and partnering with partners who will enhance the experience for consumers,” said Ramasary. Ramasary added that the platform’s content and subscription packages are revised constantly to meet the demands of subscribers. “We review and refine our subscription and rental packages on a monthly basis, in addition to reviewing content.”
Black wants to become a one-stop-shop for entertainment, online shopping, social interactions, and more, said Ramasary.
The BlackBOX and Black smart TV app are key components of this evolution, as the service aims to improve customer experience by offering these features through a television interface. “The user experience on the BlackBOX is a central feature of the device. Every month we are adding new features and improving the experience on the box.”
“Our next level we are focussing on is bringing services to the platform, ranging from food delivery to online shopping,” she said. With linked services like food delivery on the service, customers will be able to order food to their door without leaving the Black app. The platform will also add interactive social features, such as inviting friends to watch content you think they will enjoy and sending them unique reactions to events which they will receive in the app.
Ramasary said a core focus of Black is to also keep customers happy and interested in the content, and the service would constantly adapt to consumer interest.
“We will bring new content and channels based on what our customers want, and we will constantly evolve to keep our customers engaged,” said Ramasary.
- ^ New Cell C fixed-LTE deals – No roaming or device restrictions (mybroadband.co.za)
The cryptocurrency market has stayed strong in 2018, with many currencies continuing to grow. There are major development milestones which the Bitcoin core development team hopes to reach this year, but this does not always correlate to the price of the coin. Investment in Bitcoin has spread past the realm of developers and cryptography experts, with the average person now pouring money into the cryptocurrency.
Many of these new investors do not understand how the cryptocurrency works, however, and only that it has proved an easy way to make money quickly. But will Bitcoin continue its bull run in 2018 and will these new investors see the same returns as 2017? We asked blockchain expert Simon Dingle about Bitcoin’s potential for growth in the coming year – this is what he had to say.
Bitcoin in 2018
Dingle said he doesn’t want to speculate on the price movement of Bitcoin, but believes it could see increased adoption in 2018 – and the beginnings of the transactional phase in its evolution.
“This year the Lightning Network will be made publicly available, offering a decentralised, peer-to-peer payment protocol that makes Bitcoin viable for even very small transactions, without sacrificing its anti-fragility or openness,” said Dingle. “This movement should kill the erroneous idea that Bitcoin is just a store of value or asset, and as it grows in use as a currency it will also have to appreciate substantially in value to meet demand and challenge fiat monetary supply.” “So if you care about the price, then all these things should make it go up.”
While futures for Bitcoin are competing with direct investment in the cryptocurrency, Dingle believes Bitcoin is prepared for the effect of speculation and the battle against traditional perceptions. “We’re seeing an emergent battle between the old world of money that believes Bitcoin will fail, versus the new world of money in which people are taking back control and transacting directly with each other,” said Dingle. “Futures markets muddy the water because they allow for rampant speculation and for the players with the most resources to have a big impact.”
“Fortunately, the Bitcoin camp has the smartest minds on the planet in its ranks, who are well prepared for this.”
Growth in the value of other cryptocurrencies is more difficult to predict, which Dingle attributes to the haphazard way in which newcomers are buying coins. “Right now, people are investing in any trash that has the word cryptocurrency associated with it,” said Dingle. “But if we ignore hype, stupidity, and obsessions with getting rich quick, there are other cryptocurrency projects that deserve their seat at the table.”
Among these projects are Ethereum, Burst, Dash, IOTA, and Litecoin. “There are thousands of projects out there and even more misinformation and scams, so one does have to be cautious.” “Some of these scams even use the name Bitcoin and look very official.
It’s important to do your own research and trust nobody.”
Despite the prevalence of scams and instability in the market, Dingle said this is the most positive and excited about cryptocurrency he has felt since reading the Nakamoto white paper in 2010.
“There is a lot of lazy cynicism around cryptocurrency in general, but we have proven the naysayers wrong on multiple occasions over the last seven years and are now more energised than ever to help people take back control of our financial system,” said Dingle.