Cell C's Black: operator goes all-in on streaming content - TechCentral

Cell C’s Black: operator goes all-in on streaming content

Jose Dos Santos

Cell C is getting serious about video entertainment, taking aim at both MultiChoice and streaming video providers such as Netflix and Showmax, taking the wraps off a new platform called Black in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Black will be launched on 14 November, and will have a range of exclusive content, including sports, television series and movies, CEO Jose Dos Santos said. Users on any network will be able to rent or subscribe to the services, with Cell C prepaid customers able to use airtime to purchase content. A soft-launch of the website will take place on Friday, 3 November.

Cell C has invested a “couple of hundred million” rand in the platform. “This content doesn’t come cheap,” Dos Santos said.

He said Black will have all the latest movies as soon as they come off the cinema circuit. It will offer 66 streaming linear television channels at launch, and a wide range of on-demand content. About 450 of the latest movies will be available, along with local and international TV series.

A range of Barclays Premiership football games will be available, too (after the fact), with plans to bid for local sports rights. Dos Santos hinted that he hopes to secure rights to show the next Rugby World Cup. Local content will also be commissioned.

Users will be able to access Black using iOS and Android apps (called GetBlack), as well as an Android-powered TV set-top box, he said. Access to sports content will be available for as little as R5/day.

Dos Santos hinted that Cell C customers will be able to access content at either zero-rated or reduced data rates. He said the company will announce details about this on launch day on 14 November. “What’s stopping me from zero-rating it?” he asked.

Local football

“What we haven’t done in South Africa very well is bring this content in a very cost-effective way to most South Africans,” Dos Santos said. “Most South Africans can’t watch local football because the rights are owned by dominant organisations in this country.”

Access to the full suite of channels and other content will cost R389/month.

The platform will also offer access to a range of e-commerce services, including the ability to buy concert tickets and bet on sports.

In future, people will be able to buy hotel and airline tickets on the platform.  — © 2017 NewsCentral Media


  1. Ofentse Letsholo on

    This sounds awesome, they need to zero-rate all the content to “force us” to jump in on their services. I’m loving what Cell C is doing, hopefully this is just the beginning.

  2. Another “ME TOO” strategy… Telkom were first to zero rate their content partners… I don’t think all these Telco’s will see great ROI… content is way too expensive !

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