Showmax – What if the subscription packages came bundled with data?

Below this paragragh is the dictionary definition of ‘bundle’, a word whose usage has become synonymous with the various voice, SMS and internet offers introduced by mobile network operators. But there are other numerous examples of ‘bundles’ or bundled offers if you like.

There was (and still is because it has never been shutdown) a hotel – or kibanda if you’d call it that – where I used to take breakfast every morning in Kawangware. The kibanda is along Naivasha road and opposite BP Petrol station.

(TOP: Screenshot of ‘Pound of Flesh’ DVD cover). 

Every morning when I’d go there for my breakfast, I’d be served tea in a glass and then offered a single square mandazi. Fortunately, the glasses had handles otherwise we’d have had a difficult time taking the hot tea from the common round glasses with no handles. Customers to this hotel needed not wait for the waiter to come and take their breakfast orders for them to be served because less than a minute after you stepped in and settled on your seat, you’re automatically brought tea in a glass and a mandazi. All for the reasonable price of Kshs 10 – with Kshs 5 for the tea and Kshs 5 for the mandazi. Now that’s a bundled offer.

There are other examples of bundled offers, like the holiday packages which come with transport, accommodation as well as meals. And in some cases even free pickup from and drop-off to one’s residence.

Let’s go back to bundles, mobile operators and their partners.

Showmax, the Naspers-owned subscription video-on-demand (or SVoD) service provider, has since its launch partnered with Safaricom for payment. This has meant that to subscribe to Showmax and access its content, one has to pay via MPESA, the other alternatives being through credit cards, ShowMax vouchers or PayPal.

ShowMax is available in two packages – the ShowMax Select for Kshs 330 per month and ShowMax Premium for Kshs 880.

Select is designed for mobile users and gives you a choice of more than 3,000 hours of international and Kenyan shows. Payment for Select is only possible via the M-Pesa platform.

For ShowMax Premium – that is Kshs 880 -, you can access the full catalogue of more than 25,000 episodes, movies and kids programmes. Payment for this package is via M-Pesa, credit card, ShowMax vouchers or PayPal.

As we explained in our review of the service late last year, both packages allow users to stream content or download a maximum of 25 shows to watch offline. The downloaded content is valid for 30 days after which it is wiped off your device to guard against sharing.

Now, here’s what you should know, just in case you’re a new subscriber: subscribing to Showmax (and paying Kshs 330 or Kshs 880) is not the end. And it doesn’t mean that once you’ve subscribed for the package you’re now good to go and enjoy happily ever after (or till the expiry of your package).

Remember you still need to have an internet connection (or bundle) to stream or download content to watch later. And here’s where my issue of a ‘bundled’ offer comes in.

Showmax is already a partner with Safaricom, as we saw earlier in the various payment options. And Safaricom is a telco with internet among its suite of services. Now why can’t Showmax and Safaricom work together and develop a bundled package which gives a subscriber – through one payment – both access to Showmax content plus data or internet to enable the user watch the content without making two payments or subscriptions?

This option doesn’t need to apply to the entire volume of Showmax subscribers because obviously there are those with monthly unlimited internet access. But remember that Showmax’s basic (or Select) package is targeted at mobile users, most of who I believe don’t have (or are not subscribers of) monthly unlimited data. This is the group that such a bundle will appeal to.

Imagine a situation where whenever you want to subscribe to the Select package, you’re asked whether you’d want to purchase it as a bundle which comes with 1GB of data? Of course with a negotiated markup price for the data.

A full-length movie on Showmax – like Jean Claude Van Damme’s Pound of Flesh for example, which I watched and enjoyed – takes about 250MB of data to download. Meaning that if you purchased the Select package bundled with 1GB of data as suggested above, you’d then be able to watch 4 such movies. Once your data bundle runs out before the expiry of the Showmax subscription, you could then subscribe to Safaricom’s Video Data bundles via the recently introduced *422# USSD option.

In this way, all the 3 parties here will be happy – the Showmax subscriber will be happy because s/he has a flexible data bundle to watch content; Showmax will be happy because existing users are renewing their subscriptions every month as they pass on the word to new customers to subscribe to the platform while Safaricom will be assured of some data revenues from Showmax content subscribers.

Let me mention here that I’ve a complimentary 3-month Showmax subscription. However, I’ve so far only managed to watch like 3 movies. Reason: lack of unlimited internet. I know some will say that I can subscribe to Telkom’s 4G4FREE promo data which gives one 1GB free data per day but the problem is that Telkom’s 4G network is yet to expand (or ‘extend’) to my location. Again, Telkom’s 4G4Free data won’t be there indefinitely as it expires at the end of this month, as apparently, that’s the end of the promo duration.

This is the reason why I strongly feel that Showmax and Safaricom should give subscribers a bundled package which offers both access to content plus the data to watch it.

Don’t ask me how it will work, because I don’t know. But I believe there’s a way to make it work. For where there’s a will there’s always a way.

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