MTN South Africa has pulled the plug on VU, its video-on-demand platform, just days before its partner that provides the service, Discover Digital, launches a new VOD offering. The service will be terminated on 3 May, MTN said.
As a “gesture of goodwill”, the mobile operator will provide affected customers with a three-month subscription to Naspers-owned Showmax, MTN South Africa chief digital officer Maxwell Nonge told TechCentral.
The company launched MTN VU in December 2015. VU was a rebranding of FrontRow, launched a year earlier.
Following a review of its digital strategy, MTN has taken a decision to “decommission” its VOD service, the company said.
“In line with the ongoing review of its operations, MTN is also reviewing its streaming and content strategy as the costs associated with offering these services have become prohibitive,” it said.
As with FrontRow before it, MTN subscribers’ data was zero-rated (provided free, without eating into their data allowances) when they streamed content from VU using an MTN Sim card.
“The decision to discontinue VU does not signal a departure from this space [for MTN],” Nonge said. “We are still committed to becoming a significant player in this field. To this end, we will announce new services to the market at an appropriate time.”
MTN’s decision comes just days before Discover Digital, which provided the VU service for MTN, launches a new VOD service widely rumoured to be called DEOD, or Digital Entertainment on Demand. Discover Digital will hold a media conference in Johannesburg on Thursday to announce its plans.
MTN rebranded FrontRow as VU on 1 December 2015, and cut its prices to match new competitors in the market. The rebranded platform offered content from all six big Hollywood studios, along with programming from BBC Worldwide, Endemol and Freemantle. — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media