R3.3 billion Showmax funding boost


MultiChoice and Comcast subsidiary NBCUniversal will pump $177 million (R3.3 billion) into its new Showmax offering during its current financial year.

MutiChoice and NBCUniversal own the new Showmax in a 70/30 split, and both owners are providing funding in proportion to their shareholding to ensure their equity stakes remain at 70% (MultiChoice) and 30% (NBCUniversal).

On 2 March 2023, MultiChoice announced that it had entered into an agreement with Comcast

Corporation’s subsidiary NBCUniversal Media and Sky to form a partnership for purposes of driving Showmax to become the leading streaming service in Africa. 

As part of the agreement, Showmax gains access to the technology powering NBCUniversal’s Peacock and Comcast-owned content, while MultiChoice contributes its local expertise. 

MultiChoice and Comcast have not disclosed the initial sum NBCUniversal paid for its 30% stake in Showmax.

However, MultiChoice today announced how much the companies will contribute to Showmax until its financial year-end on 31 March.

The company revealed that, prior to this announcement, MultiChoice and NBCUniversal provided, in the aggregate, $20 million (R374 million) in equity funding to Showmax, each in proportion to their respective shareholdings.

Tomorrow, on 2 February 2024, the two parties will provide a combined $30 million (561 million) in equity funding to Showmax, again proportionate to their respective shareholdings.

Additional equity funding to a maximum of $127 million (R2.38 billion) is also anticipated for the remainder of MultiChoice’s financial year ending 31 March 2024.

70% or up to $88.9 million (R1.6 billion) of this figure will be carried by MultiChoice.

A lot is riding on the success of Showmax’s relaunch on the Peacock platform. 

MultiChoice is set to usher in a “new era of Showmax” on 12 February as part of its attempt to win the streaming wars in Africa and compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney+.

MultiChoice will launch its new Showmax offering in February, but existing customers will start to be migrated to the new platform on 23 January.

Aside from a new platform, MultiChoice now offers four different products – at lower price points than the original Showmax offering, which has cost R99 per month since its launch in 2015.

The first product is a multi-device, general entertainment offering comparable to the original Showmax product at R89 per month.

The second is a mobile entertainment offering, including Showmax’s general entertainment products on a mobile-only plan at R39 per month.

Thirdly, Showmax now offers a mobile-only Premier League product, allowing subscribers to access Premier League-related content exclusively on a mobile device for R69 per month.

Lastly, a mobile bundle offering combines general entertainment and Premier League-related content on a mobile-only plan for R99 per month.

The new Showmax is MultiChoice’s answer to the increasing competition in the African streaming space.

The DStv owner is hoping to take on international streaming giants like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video in Africa and become the leading streaming service in that market.