MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela has shed light on DStv’s new partnership with Netflix.
DStv launched its new Explora Ultra decoder on Thursday 12 November, which includes a built-in Netflix app and the ability to add your Netflix subscription cost to your DStv bill.
This is a revolutionary move from a broadcaster that has previously decried the growth of Netflix in South Africa and is the streaming giant’s biggest local competitor.
Speaking in an interview with MyBroadband, Mawela said this move was made to make DStv a one-stop-shop for all video content, not just its own catalogue of shows and live TV.
“I think we are well-positioned to be a platform where people come for all video entertainment services,” Mawela said.
He said that DStv, Showmax, and SuperSport will attract local TV and sports fans, while the likes of Netflix will offer additional international content.
“I don’t think the likes of Netflix will take local to the level that we are taking it,” he said.
For South Africans, this will mean that your new DStv Explora Ultra decoder will essentially function as a set-top box for Netflix and other third-party streaming services, as well as a DStv decoder with PVR.
MultiChoice also plans to launch a Streama set-top box in the near future along with a standalone DStv streaming service, allowing South Africans to stream full DStv broadcasts over high-speed Internet instead of via satellite.
The new DStv Explora Ultra will be available from next week and is priced at R2,499 excluding installation.
“We are still competitors”
Mawela stressed that despite this partnership, MultiChoice and Netflix remain fierce competitors in terms of international content.
“We are still competitors, make no mistake about that,” Mawela said.
“We need to go and get the best international content – we are not throwing away international content, but the mix will shift.”
“So, sometimes Netflix will not have a product and we will have it – just like Game of Thrones.”
It should be noted that MultiChoice’s deal with Netflix and its negotiations with other streaming providers has been noticed by the Competition Commission, which previously confirmed it was looking into the issue.
Mawela remains assured that MultiChoice has complied with competition law, adding that this type of partnership was common in overseas markets.
“For this type of partnership, we are careful about them when we enter into them – we get everybody to look at the agreement that we have been doing,” he said. “But this is not new.”
“They have done similar agreements in the US, all across Europe, and they follow the same template with us – it is not like they had to change their agreement just to suit us.”
“We are engaging with the authorities as we always do and we are very cooperative, and I think once they have understood what this is all about, they will realise that it is nothing really untoward.”
Mawela said that DStv customers can expect further partnerships with other third-party streaming services in the near future.