As of December 2021 MultiChoice’s Showmax had a market of 20 million subscribers.

Millions of video-on-demand subscribers in Africa and across the world are going to cancel their subscriptions this year before picking up owing to intense rivalry among the providers.

The Deloitte Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) 2022 shows that streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) providers’ pursuit of global viewers is facing stiff competition that is, in turn, accelerating a high churn rate.

This year, Deloitte US projects that at least 150 million streaming video-on-demand services paid subscriptions will be canceled globally, representing a churn rate of up to 30 percent per market.

“Video streaming users will become spoilt for choice as video streaming companies expand globally and companies develop domestic streaming services. Users in South Africa already have access to the ubiquitous Netflix, as well as services such as Box Office and Showmax, offered through the MultiChoice platform, DStv.

“While consumers have added more premium subscriptions to acquire and maintain the exact content they want, many have become overwhelmed by managing and paying for all those subscriptions, and they have become more sensitive to their cost,” adds the report.

These conditions, the report notes, can drive customers to cancel subscriptions and or seek less expensive ad-supported offerings, both to manage costs and as a way to pay only for the content they want by adding and canceling services as needed.

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However, with access to high-speed internet on the rise, the number of video-on-demand and streaming services subscribers in Africa is expected to hit 13 million in 2025, from 3.9 million in 2020.

Netflix was estimated to be serving roughly 2.6 million subscribers across the continent by December 2021 while MultiChoice’s Showmax had a market of 20 million subscribers.

In a bid to win more subscribers in Kenya, Showmax recently launched the local Original drama series, Single Kiasi, starring Kenyan artists Gathoni Mutua, Minne Kariuki, and Faith Kibathi as three friends navigating life and love in Nairobi city.

The initiative comes hot on the heels of Showmax’s first original film in Kenya, Baba Twins, a comedy-drama about a young couple who suddenly find themselves expecting, as well as a second season of the Showmax Original and Kalasha Award-winning Crime and Justice, which is a co-production with Canal+.

Showmax includes popular Kenyan content, such as the latest seasons of Kina, Njoro Wa Uba, and Selina, as well as famous drama sets in Kenya’s tumultuous music industry produced by Enos Olik and popular local reality shows This Love and Sol Family. 

Deloitte report notes that companies planning to retain subscribers through the strength of their content are committing huge budgets to develop and acquire top-tier content, but cautions that spending heavily may not be sustainable.

“That’s the bad news. The better news is that, overall, more subscriptions will be added than canceled, the average number of subscriptions per person will rise, and, in markets with the highest churn, many of those canceling may re-subscribe to a service that they had previously left,” says Chris Arkenberg, research manager, centre for TMT at Deloitte US.

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