MultiChoice has signed a groundbreaking deal with Netflix and Amazon to bring these streaming services to its own unified platform.
In the company’s annual results presentation for the year ended 31 March 2020, it said that it had entered into agreements with both Netflix and Amazon to integrate these services into its upcoming Explora device for South African customers.
This means that Netflix and Amazon Prime Video will in some way be accessible through the next Explora decoder model.
“To position the business for the future, leverage the group’s scale and enhance the product ecosystem by providing access to a wider variety of content, the group recently concluded distribution agreements with two major international Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) providers,” MultiChoice said in its results.
In addition to this deal, MultiChoice provided more information regarding its upcoming DStv Now standalone streaming service.
The company said in its results presentation that it had launched field trials of the service in South Africa.
MyBroadband spoke to MultiChoice chief financial officer Tim Jacobs about the streaming service deals mentioned in the company’s results presentation.
Unified streaming service
When asked about the agreements between MultiChoice and Netflix or Amazon mentioned in the results, Jacobs said he was unable to speak about the specific companies involved.
“We have signed distribution agreements with two major international subscription video-on-demand services. Unfortunately, we are in a pre-release embargo period with both of these international players, which means that other than announcing that we have these two distribution deals, we can’t talk about the specifics until the formal consumer release,” Jacobs said.
He said that MultiChoice will provide more information in the next few weeks, which will include details on how consumers will interface and engage with content from these streaming services.
Jacobs did confirm that the agreement formed part of a new unified streaming platform MultiChoice would launch that would include content from international players.
“It is part of a streaming service,” Jacobs said. “One of the questions that then comes up is ‘what happens to Showmax?'”
“Each of the different service providers has very specific content that sits on their platform, and Showmax content typically doesn’t overlap that much with these other content providers,” he explained.
“So what we are trying to is to provide an amount of simplicity, choice, and convenience to subscribers – they can come to one place and can get access to all of this different content.”
He said that this is similar to the broadcast content aggregation MultiChoice has been doing for years – this time it is just done via an over-the-top (OTT) streaming platform.
Launch and Dstv Now
Jacobs said that the launch of this unified streaming platform was “imminent”, and that customers could expect to hear more about it in the coming weeks.
He said that these large international streaming platforms were attracted to a partnership with MultiChoice and DStv because of the company’s 19.5 million subscribers.
“Video consumption at the moment is done predominantly on our platforms, and this is a really good segue for a lot of these service providers to give access to those consumers,” Jacobs said.
“The benefit for us is that we get the stickiness because if they are coming through our platform, not only are they buying these products, but they are also buying the DStv products at the same time.”
He added that penetrating the African market is not as easy as it seems for these streaming services, and the agreement with DStv and MultiChoice makes a lot of sense to them, too.
“People don’t do commercial deals unless it makes sense for both parties,” Jacobs said.
When asked how the launch of this new unified offering would affect DStv Now, Jacobs said that it would still be offered to subscribers.
“It is not going to go away any time soon, but alongside that will be a more slick and more developed component of linear television that represents itself in the streaming product.”
“You can decide for yourself how you want to watch.”