MultiChoice recently conducted research to understand how to address DStv subscriber complaints regarding repeat broadcasts.
It said that deciding how to structure channel schedules is a balancing act which has to take many factors into account.
Among the considerations is that DStv offers cheaper packages which don’t have access to all the channels Premium subscribers do.
What may be a rerun to a DStv Premium subscriber could be the first time a DStv Extra subscriber might see a particular movie, for example.
When something runs on a channel like M-Net Action for the first time, it may be the first time DStv Extra and Compact customers can watch it.
Another factor is the needs of viewers who watch six hours of television or more per day versus those who watch less.
The other major factor for DStv and M-Net is that they are forced to take a percentage of older content for every bit of new content they buy.
Regardless of all the interests it has to keep in balance, MultiChoice said it knows repeats are a sore point.
“We are working on making changes to our channels to offer our customers more fresh content and fewer repeats,” said MultiChoice.
MultiChoice said it heard the following complaints from DStv subscribers regarding repeats:
- Old movies and the number of repeats on movie channels.
- The same series across multiple channels.
- Repeats of popular shows on one channel, such as Top Gear.
- No new content on weekends and excessive stacking of shows from the week.
- Subscribers stick to few channels and struggle to find new content.
To address the complaints, MultiChoice said it has made, or is making, the following changes:
Reduce the number of movie channels.
After rolling Comedy and Family into M-Net Movies Smile, the new channel saw 24% higher ratings than the previous two combined.
More fresh content on M-Net Movies channels.
Fewer library titles, fewer repeats, with three new movies on a Sunday night from 17 December including more nouveau “Best of World” films on M-Net Edge.
Improve movie variety.
1,000 films in M-Net Movies Collection on Catch Up Plus. Added Nollywood and Bollywood channels, feature more independent festival movies and feature more new movies on local channels.
Reduce series channels.
CBS Drama and Action already terminated, with others being reviewed.
More fresh content on M-Net Series.
Exclusive first-run and niche content, more local content, more first-run content on weekends, better education on mid-season breaks.
New 30-minute show on M-Net to run at 16:30 on Sundays that will feature entertaining round-ups of what to check out in the coming week, tips and tricks for the Explora, and troubleshooting common issues.
Added more fresh first-run content on lower-tier channels.
Improved Universal Channel and FOX with several shows and made-for-TV movies.
Reviewed content stacking with all series, documentary, and lifestyle channels.
When stacks are too long, viewership declines. Channels have committed to “fresher” schedules.
New content over weekends for documentary and lifestyle channels.
Including History, National Geographic (Mars), BBC Earth, and BBC Lifestyle.
Commitment to fewer airings, or phasing out of certain old titles within channels.
Includes Top Gear, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, Come Dine with Me, Fast & Loud, and Gold Rush.
MultiChoice said it will also update its user interface to help subscribers discover new content.
New content will be indicated in the electronic programming guide and channels will show wording such as “New episodes” or “Brand new”.
MultiChoice will also change the icon for series recording in the channel info pop-up, as subscribers were interpreting it to mean the episode airing was a rerun.