This year, If you must watch old movies, watch them on ShowMax

Happy new year to you. 2018 seems to be a year in which every Kenyan has high hopes for a better future; better business prospects, better hopes in the entertainment industry and generally optimism in life. In the entertainment industry, those doing films have even higher hopes. This is because in 2017 one of the most talked about movies, Kati Kati, managed to break out from the bounds of Kenya to premier in other territories, including receiving an Oscars nomination for the best foreign language movie. The superb performance of Kenyan movies was even recognized by subscriber video on demand providers led by ShowMax where they ran to feature Kati Kati on their platforms.

Not only that, but Kenyans also seemed to have resolved to watch more Kenyan productions, and that’s why movies such as Kati Kati and Marikiti women were in the lips of many in 2017. There are even more Kenyans who have resolved to watch even more movies in 2018; with a number of them myself including resolving to watch some old titles that premiered months or even years ago.

Movie lovers in Kenya prefer to watch fresh movies which they usually get from the movie bureaus that download pirated movies from the torrent sites. This is because not only do these movie bureaus provide the latest movies that have just premiered in Hollywood theaters, but they also do so at a very affordable rates of between Kshs 30 and Kshs 50 per movie.

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The cost component however is not an issue for those who have unlimited Internet as Kshs 830 on ShowMax will allow one to watch as many titles as practically possible with the month. Assuming that on average your movie watching rate is 7 movies per week, which would work out to be about 30 movies per month, then to the movie bureau you could be spending an average of Kshs 1000 monthly. As you can see therefore, the Kshs 830 monthly subscription fees you would give ShowMax would be sufficient to allow you watch your 30 monthly titles and remain with some change. For those without unlimited Internet access, the Internet cost will obviously push up the cost exponentially.

As already mentioned, the other than the cost, the other reason why many may want not to watch movies on platforms such as ShowMax is the unavailability of fresh titles on the platform. This however is not something that will be true forever. For example, Netflix started just like ShowMax but in a few years the SVOD giant has been able to set aside billions of dollars for the production purchase and production of Netflix exclusive titles, and with this those who are already subscribed in Netflix are privileged to watch some of the latest titles before they feature anywhere else. For ShowMax to reach Netflix level, you need to start watching the titles that are already available in ShowMax.

Watching the old titles on ShowMax will give ShowMax the much needed cash to fund production of in-house and partnership exclusive content, and some of these contents will definitely come from Kenya. According to information I was able to obtain from ShowMax Content team, this year might just be the year in which ShowMax rolls out the production of ShowMax exclusive content in Kenya. The production of in-house ShowMax content has already started but for now this is restricted to South Africa. For us to start seeing high end ShowMax productions done in Kenya, we need to start consuming the available ShowMax content; even though this content at the moment are the old titles that you probably have watched elsewhere.

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The year 2018 therefore offers us an opportunity to allow SVODs like ShowMax help the local industry reap big from the optimism that Kenyans continue to have in the entertainment industry. As a movie producer myself, I would like to see a scenario where the movie industry in the country grows to give employment to the millions of talented youth, but this cannot happen when you continue to consume the pirated Hollywood movies at Kshs 30 bob.

Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
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