Digest: Showmax’s Trojan Horse

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Note: This is an edited version of the TechCabal daily digest for September 4, 2017. Subscribe here, to get it in your mailbox every day around 7am (WAT).

Here’s what you should know today.


1 – Showmax’s trojan horse 🐴 🚀 

Naspers recently merged two of their media properties, DStv and Showmax Africa, and I shared my theory about their strategy:

They have been very light on the details, but my bet is that DStv is looking for a growth story, with fewer and fewer people finding their bundle as compelling as they used to (live sports being the obvious exception), and Showmax looking to increase the subscriber base for its hyperlocal content strategy. By merging both platforms, DSTV gets differentiated content, and Showmax gets increased content creation and distribution infrastructure in all the markets DStv is in.

That made this Techmoran report from yesterday, that much more satisfying to read (called it!):

DStv Premium customers in South Africa will now get Showmax, worth R99 per month, at no charge in addition to their local and international content first already on DStv. […] There’s no impact on Showmax’s operations other than a healthy increase in its customer base.

Two things to note, though. First, I expect the integration to get deeper than it is right now (they’ve put a link in the DStv Now app, and let Showmax subscribers set their DStv accounts as a payment method). Second, I expect this offering to be expanded to their 36+ African countries pretty soon.

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In the same vein, Showmax hasn’t caused any ripples in DStv’s biggest market, Nigeria, and that, I suspect, is one of the reasons this merger exists. Before now, there has been little activity beyond content acquisition job listings and a dormant Twitter account, and DStv will likely act as Showmax’s trojan horse.

2 – Uber, but for public buses? 

iAfrikan:

As part of its Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) plan, South Africa’s City of Cape Town is proposing a ride-hailing app for minibus taxis in the city. The IPTN’s main aim is to address traffic congestion in the city.

For the uninitiated, minibus taxis are those ~15-sitter buses that often serve as public transport in developing cities (e.g. Lagos’ Danfos and Nairobi’s Matatus). They work because they follow predetermined routes on major roads, instead of providing a service tailored to any specific rider.

That’s why the idea of a “ride-hailing app” for public transport is puzzling. The only way I see this being useful is if it tracks the movement of each bus and renders them on a map for riders to schedule their arrival at the bus station, or allows riders “book” seats ahead of time. But even THAT is suboptimal, as the problem is better solved by implementing a strict arrival-departure timetable.

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This feels like a solution searching for a problem to solve. Ah, well. *shrug*

What else is interesting?


+ Blockchain-based anti-piracy solution for e-books. Link.

+ Imisi 3D is holding an AR/VR meetup in Lagos on September 23. Click hereto register.

+ Throwback (but still very relevant): It is not enough to be proudly Nigerian by Iyin Aboyeji. Link.

+ Apple’s iPhone X event in 15 minutes. Link. (I’m selling my kidney to buy the iPhone X (pronounced iPhone ten), in case anybody’s interested.)

+ How Apple Made Siri Sound More Human. Link. // Something about this piece caused my audio-geek ovaries to leap in excitement.

+ Forbes’ Interview with Aaron Fu, MEST’s new GM. Link.

Upcoming events


Lagos: TechCabal’s next Office Hours session is about Fundraising, and it will be facilitated by Lexi Novitske from Singularity Investments. It will hold at 4pm on September 15th at V8 Valley, Lekki. Fill this form to apply, and we will get back to you soon.

Lagos: Ventures Platform’s second demo day will hold on September 15 at 10am, Genesis Deluxe Cinemas, Palms Mall. Register to attend.

Lagos: PyCon, a gathering of Python developers and enthusiasts in Nigeria on 15th and 16th September. Link.

Lagos: NigeriaCom, an exclusive conference about the networks and ICT of Digital Nigeria, will hold on September 20 – 21 at Oriental Hotel. Get more details and register here.

Related  Naspers’ Turkish e-Commerce company, Markafoni, to shut down on June 30

London: Dinner with BTNG (Building Things for Nigeria), in collaboration with Tokunbo’s Kitchen, will hold on September 22. Link.

Lagos: Imisi 3D’s AR/VR meetup on September 23. Register.

Lagos: forLoop women and Africa’s Talking are holding “The Bot Party” on September 23. Deets.

Lagos: Paystack is organizing a Y-Combinator Lagos Meetup on September 23. Meet YC founders and gain insight into the process. Link.

JohannesburgRegister for CIPESA’s forum on Internet Freedom in Africa, holding on September 27 – 29.


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