Times Media's Vidi struggling, parent says - TechCentral

Times Media’s Vidi struggling, parent says


Times Media Group’s (TMG’s) Vidi video-on-demand (VOD) platform has been “struggling to gain traction in the market”, TMG parent Tiso Blackstar Group said this week.

In notes alongside its financial results for the six months ended 30 June 2015, Tiso Blackstar said Vidi management is “working hard at re-engineering the business in light of weak market penetration and the slow pace of meaningful broadband growth in South Africa”. It did not say how many subscribers it had signed up.

TMG-owned newspaper Business Day this week quoted Tiso Blackstar CEO Andrew Bonamour as saying that Vidi had not proved successful. “We will exit over the next 12 months,” he is quoted as having said.

Poor take-up of Vidi comes as the VOD market in South Africa balloons with service providers — although not necessarily consumers.

Since Vidi was launched, it has been joined in the market by MTN FrontRow, Naspers’s ShowMax and, most recently, PCCW Global’s ONTAPtv.com. The world’s biggest VOD provider, America’s Netflix, is set to be launched in South Africa sometime in 2016.

News that Vidi is not doing well comes just weeks after Altron said it would pull the plug on the Altech Node, a set-top box and home automation system that offered VOD content delivered over satellite.  — (c) 2015 NewsCentral Media


  1. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    >>Poor take-up of Vidi comes as the VOD market in South Africa balloons with service providers — although not necessarily consumers.

    All of these VoD service providers in SA are targeting the same existing market base that is already on Netflix; and attempting to currently pull this off on your own infrastructure is not going to yield a favorable user experience.

    The best bet for any of these local players is to negotiate a deal to be able to leverage such reliable infrastructure as YouTube and run their VoD services off that backbone similarly to what VEVO which is owned by Big recording labels has done with their music videos offering on YouTube.

    It also doesn’t help to target the already existing Netflix user in SA and their plans should focus more on content that is going to be serving the SA mass market because that will be the differentiater that will set them apart from a Netflix.

  2. Ofentse Letsholo on

    So Naspers will lead with Satellite TV and also VoD?! Nahhhh we need competition hey. I hope Vidi does something to get back on its feet.

  3. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    Here’s the thing,

    …its not true that Multichoice was allowed to enter the Satellite TV space without there being another competitor; unlike what Marcan who up-voted your comment suggests.

    There were two players at the time and etv was not around…

    Multichoice went with the digital platform option and launched DStv on PAS-04 and the other player was SABC at the time;

    …and they went with an analogue option and launched AstraSat which was a wrong decision to go with and it failed; whilst Multichoice had tremendous success with the digital satellite TV option they went with.

    That aside, there were and still are some definite key areas of strength within the SABC – some were lost to Multichoice and those entail skilled and well trained personnel;

    …and that is why I don’t see a problem with them taking the risk with helping the SABC learn how to successfully run a 24/7 news channel and also digitize that huge analogue SABC archive and hopefully learn how to leverage that successfully as well. In-fact, I certainly believe that they should be investing a whole lot more into the public broadcaster because their business has been largely successful because of the skills they poached from SABC.

    The presently existing key area of strength within the SABC is the power of influence it has in the mass market particularly through ALS (African Language Services.)

    How did the previous regime manage to get the large mass market population to buy TV sets…??? by providing content that was in the vernacular;

    …and you would think that would be an obvious enough tactic to exploit even for VoD services these days because when you look at the audience which ALS has, its two thirds of the population; and this would be the differentiater that sets one apart from a Netflix.

    But a Netflix will enter the SA market and be the first to do this because what we have in SA are a people who think from their prejudice “Lilly White” perspectives and “thumb suck worthless surveys” from a sample of 1500 persons interviewed.

    >>So Naspers will lead with Satellite TV and also VoD?

    No… not VoD because Netflix and probably YouTube Rentals and customized subscription offerings on the YouTube backbone will beat them to the mass market; and the current high end market base which they already have is just going to wait cleverly/illegally subscribed to Netflix until Netflix launches in SA.

  4. Ofentse Letsholo on

    The advantage of ShowMax though is local content and that’s where Netflix will fail totally as Multichoice has rights of tons of shows. In my case I’d like to see them upload Isibaya on their servers immediately after the broadcast on TV as it is “the only show” I watch on TV though they do have first season of Isibaya already there. I don’t fancy watching TV shows on YouTube plus with Google’s ads.

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this will turn up. I’m still surprised that SABC never thought of VoD or making that SABC Encore to keep their content alive as not every “old show” can fit in SABC 2 every Friday. They should have made Encore as a National TV channel on terrestrial but I guess they probably have 1yr or 2yr contract with Multichoice until the digital migration starts.

  5. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    >>I don’t fancy watching TV shows on YouTube plus with Google’s ads.

    The platform is just like any other website and for a cost that you negotiate with Google, you can run your own subscription service using your own DRM on their backbone.

    They’ve also launched their own music subscription service that doesn’t have ads. My feeling however, is that the whole ad-blocking phenomenon and anti-ads stance by the user is something that is going to be short-lived.

    We all love to buy with and spend the money which we work hard to earn – the thing that people hate is being sold to; and the way which ads are delivered, particularly online is intrusive and annoying.

    But soon ads will take on a new form and you will most definitely feel like an idiot when someone buys the same new iPhone which you have bought for twice as much;

    …all because they responded to a perfectly targeted ad on YouTube and benefited from a 50% discount – whilst you’ve been paying to have ads removed from YouTube.

    This industry is transforming at a furious pace and SABC did in-fact think of VoD to keep their content alive similarly to SABC Encore but the fact is that they spend too much time in worthless discussions with such dreamers of the likes of Antonio and his friends;

    …and Multichoice is then always able to jump onto the opportunities and make things happen because dreamers just waste your time and you end up with nothing at the end of it all –

    …whilst the Winners are the ones who make the rules and successfully deliver to make things happen.

  6. Times Media should have stuck to print because they made a hash up of this endeavour. Business Day TV will probably be next.

  7. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    Nothing wrong with the timing of the launch of Vidi and even the Node for that matter; but everything wrong with the go-to-market plan; plus the selection of the colluding agencies that are out to milk any company that has a budget.

    A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time. – Henry Ford

    Most companies are still influenced by the old thinking and will sheepishly follow whatever an agency puts forward; without realizing that the business of these agencies is to make profit in a market that has transformed to cost effective targeted adverting which has created a giant like Google.

    Agencies and especially the ones that had focused on ATL are a business that is in trouble just like the business of selling CDs in music and they are now more than happy to take anyone for a ride just to bring in the margins that they are accustomed to and which online digital advertising doesn’t offer.

    Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half. – John Wanamaker

    This is the quote which brands and companies should be more focused on in this day and age because we now have the platforms where you can get cost effective targeted advertising with analytics and a digital campaign strategy developed across social media platforms, search & apps; as well as across multiple screens including TV, mobiles, desktops & laptops.

    …oh and there are plenty of the mass market consumers which can be reached on a connected mobile device; so there’s no need to spend the ridiculous amount on a 30″ spot on Generations the Legacy;

    …but brands will still be fooled by their agencies that work in collusion with the broadcasters sales executives to extort as much as possible from a company that can be targeted to be milked.

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