As part of alterations it is making to address subscriber complaints about reruns, MultiChoice is considering making changes to Express from the US.
Express from the US is a programme where certain DStv channels get the latest episodes of shows directly after they air in the US.
DStv said it has expanded the programme to include more shows and that it is no longer limited to cable shows – it now also includes network TV shows.
However, bringing shows into South Africa as they air has caused scheduling problems and complaints from subscribers who are not aware that series take breaks over US holidays.
MultiChoice said that in the US, viewers understand when they see reruns of an episode of a show in its usual timeslot it is because new episodes are coming soon.
In South Africa, this is not the case – many viewers are surprised when they tune into a show to find a repeat, or something else being broadcast.
This may cause ratings to drop, which is of concern to channel operators like M-Net.
To address this, MultiChoice said it will improve education around shows going on “breaks”.
It also considering making scheduling changes and altering the way Express from the US works to better align it with subscriber expectations.
M-Net’s channel director Jan du Plessis said that in comparing notes with overseas broadcasters like Foxtel in Australia, they saw similar issues around Express from the US.
Foxtel has already started scaling back its Express from the US shows, said Du Plessis.
They are considering taking similar action, waiting for enough episodes to air before starting to broadcast a season so that production breaks in the US don’t interrupt their schedule in South Africa.
Du Plessis said they are also looking at putting shows on Catch Up as they air in the US and then broadcasting them on a channel later.
MultiChoice said in some cases this may complicate content licensing, though. They also face the challenge that some subscribers think Catch Up is just another channel.
It is something the company is working on and it hopes to find a balance between various subscriber demands.