20th Century Fox

Choose your own TV channels in South Africa — This is what it looks like

2017 saw the launch of several new streaming video services in South Africa including Black, DEOD, Kwese Play, and LIT TV. MTN shut down its video platform[1], VU, which was operated by Discover Digital. However, Discover Digital soon launched Digital Entertainment On Demand[2] (DEOD).

Much like VU, DEOD offers subscription video on demand services and movie rentals. It also has a range of live streaming TV channels. Where DEOD was the first new streaming video service to launch in South Africa in 2017, Black from Cell C was the last of the year.

With Black[3], Cell C hopes to launch an entertainment brand which exists separately from its cellular services. The Black portal contains sports betting, games, and event ticketing services, but its main feature at launch was its on-demand video platform. Like DEOD, Black offers several different types of video services collected in a variety of bundles.

These include a movie rental service, subscription video on demand through “Flexi” packages, and live TV channel streaming through BTV and football club channels such as Chelsea and Manchester United TV. Cell C has also concluded a deal with Fox to offer its bouquet of channels to the African market for R99 per month. Content from Fox’s on-demand service, Fox NOW, will also be coming to Black in the future.

Setting itself apart from similar services, Cell C has launched an Android-based media device called blackBOX[4], which subscribers can connect to a TV via HDMI. While Discover Digital and Cell C launched their own video entertainment platforms based on their own content licensing deals, Econet Media and Telkom have taken a different route.

Netflix in South Africa

Rather than building their own streaming services, the pair of African telecommunications giants have instead decided to offer easier access to existing services. Econet, through its subsidiary Kwese, inked deals with Roku and Netflix to become their official partners in Africa, and launch Kwese Play[5].

It sells a Kwese-branded Roku media player with access to several channels and services. This includes integrated billing for Netflix, allowing South Africans to pay for the streaming service in rand rather than US dollar. Telkom launched a suite of products under the “LIT” brand — LIT Music, LIT Video, and LIT TV.

LIT Video[6] is available to FreeMe contract subscribers on 5GB packages and greater and offers free streaming from services such as Netflix and Showmax, under a fair usage policy of 50GB per month. LIT TV[7] is a value-added service available to Telkom contract subscribers who take up specific fixed services. Clients on HomeUnlimited 8/10Mbps and greater, as well as SmartWireless 50GB receive a Telkom LIT TV media box.

At launch, Telkom’s Google-certified Android TV box[8] was able to access YouTube and Showmax, with plans to support Netflix in the works.

Choose your own channels

A frequent request from pay-TV subscribers is the ability to choose their own channels, or simply more granular control over what they spend their subscription fees on. DStv has said that allowing subscribers to choose their own channels would be technically challenging the way its systems are currently configured, and warned that it could make pay-TV more expensive for fewer channels. However, with DEOD and Black added to South Africa’s streaming video landscape, along with platforms like LIT and Kwese Play that support existing popular services, 2017 was the year that choosing your own channels in South African started becoming a reality.

South Africans now have a choice of Netflix[9] and Amazon Prime Video[10] for a mix of licensed and original international content, as well as Showmax[11] for local shows and content from MultiChoice-licensed networks like HBO and Comedy Central. Standalone live TV streaming services have also become available in South Africa thanks to Black and DEOD. As far as entertainment content is concerned, competition in South Africa has heated up and broadband subscribers now have a solid selection of platforms to choose from.

Premium sports remains the domain of SuperSport however, and requires a DStv subscription whether you are using a satellite decoder or streaming content through the DStv Now[12] app on your Telkom LIT TV box.

Now read: Choosing your own TV channels – be careful what you wish for[13]


  1. ^ MTN shut down its video platform (
  2. ^ launched Digital Entertainment On Demand (
  3. ^ Black (
  4. ^ blackBOX (
  5. ^ Kwese Play (
  6. ^ LIT Video (
  7. ^ LIT TV (
  8. ^ Telkom’s Google-certified Android TV box (
  9. ^ Netflix (
  10. ^ Amazon Prime Video (
  11. ^ Showmax (
  12. ^ DStv Now (
  13. ^ Choosing your own TV channels – be careful what you wish for (

Star Wars: The Last Jedi was the top-grossing film of 2017 in the US

“The Last Jedi” is giving movie-theater chains a new hope for 2018. Walt Disney Co.’s latest chapter in the Star Wars saga became the No.

1-grossing movie of the year after generating an estimated £52.4 million in U.S. and Canadian sales over the weekend, according to estimates Sunday from researcher ComScore Inc. The film’s domestic total of £517.1 million for 2017 topped the £504 million tallied by the previous No.

1, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” The success of “The Last Jedi,” combined with a surprisingly strong run this month from Sony Corp.’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” is an encouraging sign for Hollywood, which has been through a brutal year of big-budget bombs and competitive threats. The overall box office in the U.S., the world’s biggest movie market, finished the year down 2.3 percent to £11.1 billion, but the latest hits prove it’s possible to lure viewers away from their Netflix accounts.

“The Last Jedi” cemented Disney’s place as the top movie studio by market share for the second year in a row, and the company’s slate for 2018 makes a three peat look probable. A spinoff Star Wars movie in May will tell the backstory of Han Solo. Three Marvel superhero films — “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” — will be released in the next seven months.

Childhood favorites “Mary Poppins,” “Wreck-It Ralph” and “The Incredibles” get new installments. Competitors will try to bounce back from a year of disappointments with a barrage of sequels and reboots. Warner Bros. has more DC Comics and “Fantastic Beasts” films lined up; Universal Pictures revisits to “Jurassic World;” 20th Century Fox brings back mutant superhero Deadpool; Sony rolls out two Spider-Man-related movies; and Paramount Pictures produces a new edition of “Mission: Impossible” and a Transformers spinoff based on the Bumblebee character.

It will be difficult for any of those contenders to unseat Burbank, California-based Disney, which dominated the box office for the last two months of the year with its films holding the top spot for all but one weekend. Worldwide, “The Last Jedi” has tallied £1.04 billion, Disney said. The movie had been expected to generate £79 million over the four-day weekend including Monday, said.

But theater chains are rooting for Disney’s competitors to put up a better fight than in 2017, when weak offerings such as Warner Bros.’ “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” and Paramount’s “Baywatch” failed to capture the imagination and contributed to a slump in the shares of chains such as AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and Cinemark Holdings Inc. Sony has shown some moxie with “Jumanji,” a remake of the 1995 Robin Williams fantasy. In its second weekend in theaters, where “The Last Jedi” is playing on multiple screens in many locations, the action-comedy starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson generated £50.6 million, according to ComScore.

After exceeding estimates in its first weekend, the movie was expected to make £60 million for the four-day holiday weekend ending Monday, according to Audiences have so many other options for entertainment, from Netflix to Snapchat, that the movie industry is having to fight harder than ever to compete for attention. Some companies have begun looking for merger partners to cut costs and gain scale.

Cineworld Group Plc, based in the U.K., agreed in December to acquire Regal Entertainment Group for about £3.6 billion, and Disney struck a £52.4 billion deal to buy the Fox studio and other assets from 21st Century Fox Inc.

Hollywood executives famously copy any formula that works, so get ready for more merger mania in 2018.

Now read: The Last Jedi earned R10 million on opening weekend in South Africa[1]


  1. ^ The Last Jedi earned R10 million on opening weekend in South Africa (