Home Tv Shows MultiChoice in trouble without sport and local content while its new live-stream clampdown limit to just 1 stream might force DStv subscribers to rivals like Netflix.

MultiChoice in trouble without sport and local content while its new live-stream clampdown limit to just 1 stream might force DStv subscribers to rivals like Netflix.


by Thinus Ferreira

Analysts and experts are slamming MultiChoice’s sudden decision to clamp down with a new live-stream limit of just one stream for DStv subscribers set to come into effect from 22 March, saying that MultiChoice’s decision will drive DStv subscribers to rivals like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, with only SuperSport’s offering and local content that is keeping DStv going.

Analysts and experts say MultiChoice has been over half a decade late in unbundling sport from the other offerings and now hamstringing the future of its business, that MultiChoice is showing a “complete lack of foresight” about the changes the internet is forcing media companies to make, and that MultiChoice doesn’t seem to understand how the market is changing.

The BusinessDay TV (DStv 412) channel discussed (from minute 13:30) the outrage over MultiChoice’s decision to clamp down and limit DStv streaming to just one live stream on one device.

“Given the outrage, it means MultiChoice will probably be able to find a more elegant solution – maybe they just limit the number of streaming per account to 5 then you can watch in the lounge while you’re children watch in the bedroom on the same subscription,” Wayne McCurrie at FNB Wealth and Investments said.

“I’m sure there’s going to be a more elegant solution than just saying ‘one’ per subscription.”

“Honestly if it wasn’t for the sports offering – and there is a big element of local content as well which I don’t watch – if it wasn’t for the sports element and local content, the Netflix and the YouTube and the whatever else – they’d be in serious trouble.”

MultiChoice chasing subscribers away

Waheed Swales, Sunstrike Capital CEO, on Twitter, said “Economically they’re banking on the fact that they will somehow increase DStv’s subscriber count by limiting the number of concurrent streams to 1, and yet all its doing is making people feel A LOT less justified in maintaining a subscription”.

“You had 4 profiles in the past, plus up to 3 live decoder signals in 1 house, via triple view. Essentially that meant you could have 5 people sharing the subscription (around R900 for 5). Now you potentially lose the owner of the subscription due to a singular high cost. Poor form man.”

“Netflix was asked about sharing accounts before, and they answered very diplomatically, knowing full well that their model of 4 simultaneous streams at the highest tier-offering (R200 per month) is perfectly feasible, even with account sharing literally building it into their pricing.”

“More and more MultiChoice seem to show a complete lack of foresight in how web3 will impact media consumption. Web2 already has on-demand streaming. Web3 is going to push singular multi-device consumption more than ever with higher bandwidth. MultiChoice’s exco are actually a joke to be honest.”

“They are 5 years too late in unbundling sport from the other offerings and now are hamstringing the future of their business. Imagine thinking that satellites and decoders are your lifeblood? F-sakes, what a bunch of boomers man.”

“Lastly, the biggest factor here for me is that as a tech company, you NEVER EVER EVER turn off something without an alternative – history wins here. Something should’ve been launched before they did this. That way, the uproar would’ve been smaller and less impactful,” Waheed Swales said.

If others can handle multiple logins why can’t DStv?

Andrew Fraser, marketing strategy consults, said on Twitter that “DStv isn’t managing a unique problem, all the subscription services that offer multiple streams are dealing with shared logins”.

“As DStv moves from being a linear TV company towards a streaming future because that is inevitable, a single content stream will simply not be competitive, especially for the premium service.”

“I’m surprised that this is the solution that they are touting. Even the Showmax (another MultiChoice property) premium tier offers two concurrent streams.”

“And this market is likely to get more competitive, not less as multinationals with big content libraries have relatively small barriers to enter the market. So we’re likely to see Disney+ in South Africa sooner rather than later.”

“If these companies can manage multiple logins, why can’t DStv?”

“It’s easy for accountants to say that they’re losing huge amounts of revenue because of this sharing, but in reality, it’s a bit more complex. The estimate is that 20% of accounts are shared but the estimation of lost revenue is only around 2.5%.”

“If this is such a big issue, why is there such a big mismatch in the impact on revenue? It’s because many of those people that are freeloading aren’t actual potential buyers. If they can get it for free or for a reduced or shared fee, they will not buy.”

“And if they don’t buy, they’ll either simply do without, find alternative content, or they’ll find another source for the content that provides it at a price point that they’re comfortable with (i.e. piracy). They’re mostly not actual consumers.”

“MultiChoice doesn’t seem to understand this, and I think the backlash from DStv subscribers  – both those that have been sharing logins and those that have been using the service legitimately – will cause the unintended consequence that revenue will be lost, not gained,” Andrew Fraser says.

TVwithThinus made a media interview request and asked MultiChoice on Thursday if any executive is available for an interview to unpack and to explain with more depth the decision to limit DStv streaming.

Itumeleng Thulare at MultiChoice corporate communications responded and said that the request for an interview is declined.


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