Netflix does not break down its international subscriber numbers by country, but MultiChoice has revealed its estimate to MyBroadband.
MultiChoice, which operates DStv, believes that Netflix has grown to between 300,000 and 400,000 subscribers in South Africa since it launched in January 2016.
“That’s a significant number in two and a half years,” MultiChoice South Africa CEO Calvo Mawela told MyBroadband.
Mawela made the statement while warning against the over-regulation of the pay TV sector in South Africa by ICASA.
He said that thanks to the entry of services like Netflix, DStv now faces strong competition from global companies.
Trying to regulate the market to break the exclusivity and first-air rights MultiChoice has will therefore hand South Africa’s pay TV sector to overseas companies, said Mawela.
DStv grew its subscriber base in South Africa by 278,000 users during the six months ending 30 September 2017, MultiChoice reported in its latest interim results.
While DStv’s subscriber base is showing growth, Mawela said this is on the company’s lower-tier, lower-margin packages like DStv Access.
By comparison, MultiChoice lost over 100,000 DStv Premium subscribers in its last financial year.
Mawela also advocated for online and traditional broadcast services to be treated the same when it comes to regulation.
He said Netflix and Amazon should be required to obtain a broadcast licence, pay taxes in South Africa, and comply with the classification regulations of the FPB.
Netflix said many third-party companies give estimates of its per-country subscribers outside the US, but it is “total guess work.”
While it declined to comment on MultiChoice’s estimates, Netflix said it is happy with its performance in South Africa.