Vidi dies, radio lives on, and WhatsApp slays
Subscribers weren’t notified this week when Vidi – Times Media Group’s R160-a-month video-on-demand service – was shut down. A notice on the Vidi website simply says that the service is no longer available after January 26 2016.
“Vidi is transforming. Watch this space for coming details.”
The closure should come as no surprise after Times Media Group parent company Tiso Blackstar’s CEO, Andrew Bonamour, told Business Day last year that Vidi had not proved successful and they would be “exiting” after a year. But no one expected their “exit” to be quite so abrupt, particularly those paying for the service.
TECH More than 10 million South Africans helped the WhatsApp messenger service reach its 1 billionth
VIDI monthly active user mark this week (despite the recent declaration of war against it from MTN and Vodacom). WhatsApp isn’t alone. Gmail also became part of the 1 billion club this week. Very few web services enjoy this kind of traction – only Facebook, Google search, Chrome (both mobile and desktop), Google Maps, YouTube, Google’s Android (and therefore also Google Play) are on the list.
WhatsApp also announced recently that it would be dropping its $1 (R16) service fee, as it was hampering the product’s growth in developing countries, so expect user numbers to rise in the future. Supporting 700 radio stations worldwide, and with a growing active user base of 5 500, RadioVybe might not be in the same league as Spotify or Tunein.com, but its five-year plan to grow users to 150 million, with more than 2 million radio stations and broadcasters, might soon be a reality. The free streaming service, which calls itself a social network for online radio and music lovers, has been cofounded by a Nigerian, his brother and two South Africans, and runs out of a house in Roodepoort. The ambitious team said this week that it believed that “the business could achieve revenue of R23.3 billion by 2021”.