South Africans dumping DStv Premium — but they may be back

DStv Premium subscribers cut the cord or downgraded to cheaper packages in 2020 because of the absence of rugby, MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela told investors during a webcast last week.

Mawela said that as rugby returns, so will these DStv Premium subscribers.

Although MultiChoice does not disclose its DStv Premium subscribers, its latest results showed a decline of 8% in its premium segment — Premium and Compact Plus bouquets.

The average revenue per user in the premium segment declined from R588 to R580 per month.

This decrease occurred despite a price increase over the last year and points to a significant decline in DStv Premium subscribers during the previous twelve months.

Commenting on this decline, Mawela said they saw DStv Premium subscribers migrating to lower packages and moving online.

He said that 80% of DStv Premium subscribers who subscribe to streaming video platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video remain on DStv, though they may choose to downgrade for a time.

“This past year has been very difficult rugby. This is why we have seen a significant number of people who have downgraded from DStv Premium,” he said.

“As soon as rugby comes back, they upgrade to DStv Premium”.

DStv South African subscriber mix — 2020/21 (left) and 2019/20 (right)

Despite its steady bleed of high-value DStv subscribers over the last several years, MultiChoice posted record profits for the 2020/21 financial year.

This was due to increased uptake of its mid-tier and mass-market pay-TV services that helped reduce its reliance on DStv Premium, the company stated.

MultiChoice reported that it saw the second-highest number of new DStv sign-ups in its history in South Africa.

It said that this was driven, in part, by an acceleration in the growth of DStv Compact subscribers thanks to the success of its hit show Gomora.

Now read: DStv Premium — death by a thousand cuts

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South Africans dumping DStv Premium — but they may be back