In recent weeks, you might have seen promotions for a new streaming service by the name Showmax.
I was skeptical about its offerings, because after all, the biggest streaming giant Netflix had already launched in Kenya. Many weeks passed without me giving Showmax a second look.
Then something happened over the weekend, and I got myself a subscription. It so happened that I had hit a wall in terms of what to watch. Netflix, like anyone with a subscription will so often tell you, quickly runs out of suitable TV shows or movies.
Even when trying out Showmax, I can’t say I had my hopes up, but I was quickly proven wrong. I can now comfortably say that Showmax is ten times better than any other streaming service available in Kenya.
Unlike Netflix, Amazon and the rest, Showmax actually ‘launched’ in Kenya. By this I mean acquiring rights to show local content, coming up with local payment option and coming up with tailor-made plans for Kenyans. The others simply opened up their websites to the rest of the world, Kenya included.
Let me explain a bit on that before I talk about the most important thing… content.
Showmax has two packages on offer. The select plan which costs only Sh330 per month, and the premium plan at Sh880 per month. Already that’s the cheapest streaming service anywhere, and if you do you math right, even your local DVD guy (pirate) can’t compete.
The select plan gives you over 8,500 movies and TV show episodes, while the premium plan more than doubles that to over 20,000. Another advantage of the premium plan is the ability to stream in HD.
Because Showmax ‘actually’ launched in Kenya, you can pay for your subscription with what you’re comfortable with. Of course Kenyans are not very comfortable with entering their card digits into random boxes, and that’s why Showmax gives you the Lipa na Mpesa option.
It gets better. If you buy a 3 month subscription via Mpesa, you get another month free.
If you pay with your card, you get a 14 days free trial.
One unique feature with Showmax is ‘data capping’. Many Kenyans who don’t have access to unlimited fibre internet or any other unlimited internet package, no longer have to sit and watch the rest enjoy premium programming. Within Showmax video player itself, you can choose the amount of MBs you want to spend per hour. Leave the rest to them and they’ll know how to adjust the streaming quality and other things accordingly.
But if you still think you can save more on data, and you happen to have access to some unmetred internet, maybe at your workplace or at a friend’s place, Showmax have you covered. You can download shows for offline viewing later.
But even with all these features, if the content is no good, then there is no point.
This is where my mind was really blown.
Being as big as Amazon or Netflix comes with very many disadvantages. For starters, HBO will not sell you their premium content because they also have a competing streaming service. That’s why you’ll never find the great shows by HBO, CBS, The CW etc. on Netflix and Amazon.
However, Showmax does not have this problem. To the best of my knowledge, it is not competing with HBO GO for American eyeballs, and thus they have been given a free reign on the best TV shows.
If you’ve never watched any of these, I’d suggest you cancel you plans for the next 2 months and stream them in this order:
Game of Thrones -> The Newsroom -> Strike Back -> Veep ->Boardwalk Empire -> Silicon Valley -> True Detective -> Any other.
And believe me that is not even half of the HBO collection.
Moving away from HBO, you will find shows like Scandal, Suits, Luther, Billions, Mr. Robot, Scorpion, Teen Wolf, The Vampire Diaries, Reign, Downton Abbey, Madam Secretary, The Borgias, The Flash, Atlantis, The Good Wife, Vikings.. and much more.
Billions (Financial Drama)
The Fixer/Scandal (Political Drama)
Suits (Legal Drama)
If we are being objective here, no other streaming service comes anywhere close to Showmax in terms of ‘A-list’ TV content.
And these are just the continuing ones or recently ended.
I can assure you that your mind will be blown too.
And that is before you even look at the local content. I don’t know how they did this, but here are some of the Kenyan shows available on Showmax.
Real Househelps of Kawangware
There’s so much on offer, and you should just check it out for yourself.
I’ve not even covered the surface, and I think I’ll have to do another article looking at the movies.