To remain competitive, MultiChoice should become a pay-TV and streaming gatekeeper by offering DStv with Netflix and Amazon Prime through its new decoder.
This is the view of Protea Capital Management founder and CEO Jean Pierre Verster, who was speaking to Business Day TV on MultiChoice’s future.
In June, MultiChoice revealed that it had signed a deal with Netflix and Amazon to integrate their streaming services onto the new Explora decoder.
MultiChoice CFO Tim Jacobs said these agreements are part of a new streaming platform that would include content from international players.
MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela said it made sense for DStv to become a one-stop-shop where you pay one bill and get access to all streaming content, which would include Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and YouTube.
Everyone expected MultiChoice to announce this all-in-one offering when it unveiled its new Explorer Ultra and DStv Streama devices. This did not happen, however.
It is likely that the Competition Commission’s investigation into MultiChoice’s deal with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video rattled the company.
Siyabulela Makunga, head of communications at the Competition Commission, told MyBroadband they are investigating MultiChoice’s bundling plans and agreements.
It can be assumed that the Competition Commission is concerned about the deal limiting pay-TV and streaming competition in South Africa.
A big play for MultiChoice
Commenting on MultiChoice’s future prospects, Verster said it is key for MultiChoice to be the gatekeeper for Netflix and Amazon in South Africa through its Explora decoder.
“In South Africa, we do not have many smart TVs which connect directly to the Internet,” he said.
If MultiChoice can get it right to offer Netflix and Amazon Prime through its decoder, it will be very good for them.
By bundling streaming services with DStv, users will be forced to continue to pay their DStv subscription to keep their Netflix service.
“If they can achieve that they will continue to be in a good financial position,” Verster said.
He added that MultiChoice is essentially two businesses – the South African business which is a cash cow, and the African business which is not making money.
If MultiChoice Africa starts to perform better, it will be very good news for the MultiChoice Group.
He said investors should also keep their eye on the affordability of DStv packages for the middle- and upper-income class consumers in Africa.
Rand Swiss portfolio manager Gary Booysen is less upbeat about MultiChoice because of international competition.
He said the explosion of streaming services around the world is gaining traction, which makes it an extremely competitive space.
Booysen questioned whether MultiChoice will be able to keep up with the pace of innovation of international streaming services.