Cell C is shutting down its Black streaming service.
In an SMS sent to Black users, the company stated that the service will close on 31 December 2019.
This follows a “review of our product portfolio”, said Cell C. It also provided users with a voucher code which gives them 3 months of Showmax for free.
One Black user stated that the move was “disappointing if you are on a Media Play contract” and now no longer receive the streaming subscription and streaming data.
The future of entertainment
Cell C launched Black in November 2017 and punted it as the future of entertainment.
“No longer will you have to wait 9 months before you can watch the newest movies in South Africa,” said former Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos at the launch.
Black offered video streaming, music, concert tickets, and sports betting at launch.
Cell C also launched a media box as part of the play, called the blackBOX.
The device let users access Black streaming services on their TV, including the live streaming of channels. Users could access Black via Android and iOS apps, as well.
In recent months, however, the future of Black has looked uncertain.
MyBroadband learned in July 2019 that Cell C had stopped its investment in the Black platform, which included freezing the development of its web and mobile apps.
In September, Cell C suspended the linear channels on Black, and entered negotiations with content providers.
Later that month, Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson said Cell C’s investment in Black was not a good move.
“Black was not the right play for Cell C,” said Craigie Stevenson.
“We did not have the resources to compete in that environment.”
Cell C’s decision
Cell C said that following a review of the company’s product portfolio and decision to redirect expenditure to revenue-generating initiatives, it made the decision to decommission Black.
“Content remains part of Cell C’s broader strategy, however, we have had to carefully look at how we approach this to ensure we provide a sustainable service that customers want while at the same time offer a service that makes commercial sense to the business,” said Cell C.
Cell C will not be accepting any new registrations on Black, and will be refunding customers for outright movie purchases.
Existing customers will be able to use the service until 31 December 2019.
“Cell C is in the process of notifying existing customers on Black of its decision to end this service.”