Over the last 4 years, fiber internet has been spreading like wildfire in South Africa. Allowing all major suburbs access to incredibly fast internet speeds, and along with this has been a ton of different streaming services trying to capitalize on the growth. These new streaming services like Netflix are making it possible for people to watch pretty much anything they want, all their favorite shows, from any device, online.
In 2018, video streaming online can now be considered as commonplace for most modern people with an internet connection. Although it has made it much easier to watch your favorite television shows, does this new wave of technology mean the end of digital television providers such as Multi-choice DSTV?
This has been a long-standing debate and as Netflix continues to expand to further countries including South Africa, we are seeing the entire disruption of television as we know it right before our eyes. According to the latest findings from My Broadband, there have been more than 400,000 new subscribers on Netflix’s platform since it first arrived in South Africa in 2016. This is a big deal and I can assure you DSTV is feeling the heat from its new competitors, although they are not going to give up without a fight.
In 2015 Multi-choice foresaw this new trend and made headlines by announcing its own streaming service called Showmax which is available for free to their premium users. Showmax has a lot of the latest content for its users and I enjoy watching it but, in terms of quantity, it is by no means in the same league as Netflix and will need to step up its game even further if they want to compete in 2018.
Multi-Choice is announcing that in 2019 they will come out with a new type of standalone internet version of DSTV which is said to replace the satellite dish. This new service is referred to as an OTT Over-The-Top version of their current platform and by doing this they will effectively be transitioning to an entirely new online system which their subscribers can log in to from literally any device to watch their favorite shows. They will also have OTT services available like Catch Up Plus, DStv Now and Showmax (which will remain free to its premium users).
It’s a little bit hard to believe considering that DSTV stands for “Digital Satellite Television” but it might be the right time for a change and will definitely be a turning point in the way DSTV has operated thus far.
Calvo Mawela, CEO of DSTV has been quoted saying “This is a work in progress” and “Unfortunately I cannot share with you an exact time”. But it is definitely very exciting to think that they will be changing the entire operations of the company and transitioning to the online space.
Although Netflix is already dominating in the United States, Multichoice has set a great foundation here in South Africa, they have used DStv installers to spread out across the Country starting from Pretoria in 2001. Because of this, it will be much tougher for Netflix to convert users just based on functionality, as they are not actively seeking to replace their Multichoice subscription.
Overwhelming amounts of research are showing that in 2018 the American population will spend more time online than watching television for literally the first time in history. This is big news and it’s going to mark a trend that will quickly be followed by the rest of the world, coming to South Africa as well.
So there is definitely some tough times ahead for Multichoice, but in the meantime, they still hold the market share of viewership in all of Southern Africa.
“The reality is that at the moment. Showmax cannot compete with Netflix in terms of quantity and quality of content.”
However, many have speculated that although Netflix is more affordable and may be the better option for series, it may not be the first choice for viewers when it comes to watching Sports Games or watching the latest news. That’s where DSTV still has the advantage.