by Thinus Ferreira
MultiChoice has no so-called “family plan” for DStv streaming for its subscribers and if it were to introduce one, the pay-TV operator says it will announce it.
The dramatic change angering DStv subscribers means that only one viewer with access to a DStv account will be able to watch and live stream one DStv channel at a time from 22 March.
It means that a child in a TV household won’t be able to watch a kids show on a youth channel while a mom is watching a soap opera, or the mom unable to watch her appointment-show if a husband is watching sport.
MultiChoice is battling the growing popularity of global video streaming services like Netflix SA offering 4 simultaneous or “concurrent” streams on its top Premium package for R199 per month, and two concurrent streams on its R159 Standard-plan.
After the change, MultiChoice will compare very badly in terms of what it offers DStv customers, compared to the global benchmark. Like Netflix, Sky in the United Kingdom offers its top-tier pay-TV subscribers 4 concurrent streams, and subscribers on mid-tiered packaged 2 streams.
In America, multiple pay-TV operators offer their customers far more than one digital stream, with Comcast’s Xfinity allowing customers to stream video on up to 5 devices simultaneously. Many make no distinction between whether a subscriber is watching a live TV channel being streamed or catalogue library material.
MultiChoice was asked for answers to 4 specific questions in a media query to publish in a Q&A format.
making the decision, what research did MultiChoice use and what findings
informed MultiChoice’s decision, for instance how many people in a household now
share a DStv login/password, or how many people are a DStv login on average
shared with, and when did MultiChoice research this?
didn’t or can’t MultiChoice create a type of “family plan” that would allow
family members in one household to watch separate streams of live DStv content
on different devices at the same time?
say that although the slogan is “so much more” that MultiChoice is now offering
less and will make family members with DStv fight again, like they used to do
over control of the remote control as different viewers are forced to compete
over who gets to watch a live channel on streaming. Are household members
forced to compete for content or what is MultiChoice’s response to this?
who watch longform content, for instance a sport match or a movie will now effectively
block other family members for a long time from watching shorter form content
when/while they are watching (i.e. a half-hour kids show or a half-hour soap).
Does MultiChoice expect to see an uptick or increase in the consumption of more
longer forms of programming, for instance more content consumed that are longer in
duration as opposed to a volume of shorter form content being consumed?.
MultiChoice didn’t provide specific responses to these 4 questions.
In its response, published here in full as received, MultiChoice reiterated what it already placed in its announcement on the company’s website about the change, saying: “The challenges of password sharing and piracy is not
unique to MultiChoice. Streaming providers around the world face the same
“As a business, we have processes in place to monitor and assess
piracy across our platforms and this enable us to take the necessary steps as
and when is required”.
MultiChoice continued its response by noting: “Regarding the different scenarios you outlined in your
questions, it depends on the type of subscription a customer has. Our customers
access our content through a number of different devices and this allows us to
provide various watching permutations.”
“In terms of creating a ‘family plan’, we
constantly review our products and services to meet the needs of our customers.
When we have a new product, we will make the necessary announcement.”