MTN, one of South Africa’s largest mobile operators, has launched a Video-on-Demand (VoD) service called FrontRow which will offer a selection of TV series and movies which can be streamed via a web browser or through an Android app (an iOS app will also be available soon).
The service will cost R199 per month which will allow subscribers access to a certain amount of free content from the MTN FrontRow catalogue. There is also an “all you can watch” service for R499 which comes with 10GB of data. Both of these subscription options will be on special until March, costing only R179 and R399 respectively.
Additionally subscribers can rent movies on a once off basis, from between R15 and R27 a time, through FrontRow Premiere.
FrontRow is a streaming service so it will not allow the downloading of movies or TV series. Each account can be accessed through up to five devices, but can only stream on one at a time.
This new offering from MTN will be competing with similar products that have been launched recently, including Time Media’s Vidi and Altech’s Node.
Mobile operators like MTN are being forced to look for new revenue streams as voice usage dwindles. Providing content such as video streaming allows MTN to try and recoup some of those losses through data charges, as streaming is very data intensive.
MTN may however find that they have a hard time getting people to migrate from traditional TV viewing options such as DStv. A premium DStv package is not much more expensive than MTN’s new offering and does not require data purchases to view programming.