DStv vs Online streaming — Pricing showdown

The cost of subscribing to five online video streaming services and a 25Mbps fibre package for two years is only around R700 more than the total amount you will pay on a DStv Premium contract over the same period.

DStv has continued to implement annual price increases, while video streaming subscription fees in South Africa have largely remained unchanged, and broadband prices have plummeted.

While most streaming services popular in South Africa focus on international content, MultiChoice has stated that it will take a “hyper-local” approach with DStv to compete with Netflix.

This is evident in MultiChoice’s decisions around its channel line-up.

DStv shed several foreign-based channels in 2019 and 2020, including BBC First, Crime + Investigation, History, Sundance TV, Fox Life, Lifetime, and Disney XD.

In addition to its hyper-local approach, DStv also remains dominant in sports.

For those who are willing to forgo SuperSport and DStv’s exclusive local content offering, online streaming services are a cheaper alternative to a DStv package.

To see how the price of DStv Premium compared to online streaming, we took the price of a 24-month contract, including the access fee for recording and on-demand services. We compared this to what it would cost for the most popular streaming services in South Africa together with an Internet connection.

While a home broadband connection is typically used for more than video entertainment, it is a necessary component to use an online streaming service.

However, since an Internet connection can be used for more than a single streaming service, we also show what happens to the costs when you subscribe to five different streaming services in one household.

Netflix DStv headline

We chose the most affordable fibre package currently available in the country for this comparison — a R399 25Mbps/5Mbps line on the Openserve network, available from Webafrica.

The five streaming services we considered were Netflix, Showmax, Amazon Prime Video, Vodacom Video Play, and Apple TV+.

To give DStv a fair chance, we chose the most cost-effective option for a Premium package, which worked out to be a 24-month contract with its access fee included, combined with a standalone HD decoder, dish, and installation bundle from Makro.

A contract with the latest Explora decoder and installation included would have been more expensive.

Each streaming service was bundled with a 25Mbps fibre connection over 24 months and worked out significantly cheaper than the cost of a 24-month DStv contract plus decoder and installation.

It should be noted that DStv Premium includes a subscription to Showmax. However, factoring it in would not substantially change the comparison. There is also an overlap between the content on Showmax and that one DStv.

Amazon Prime Video was the cheapest at a total cost of R11,535 because its first month is free.

Even with the cost of an entry-level Internet service included, two years of Netflix Standard worked out to be R8,138 cheaper than DStv Premium.

Paying for all five streaming services and the Internet connection was only R613 more expensive than paying for the DStv contract.

The table below shows how the costs added up for each option.

Paid video content service prices in South Africa
Service Monthly price Additional costs Total 24-month cost
DStv Premium R839 x 24 R649 for standard HD decoder + installation
R265 per year TV licence
R21,050
Netflix Standard R139 x 24 25Mbps/10Mbps fibre – R399pm – R9,576 R12,912
Showmax R99 x 24 25Mbps/10Mbps fibre – R399pm R11,952
Video Play R99 x 24 25Mbps/10Mbps fibre – R399pm R11,952
Amazon Prime Video $0.00 x 1; $5.99 x 23 25Mbps/10Mbps fibre – R399pm R11,535
Apple TV+ R84.99 x 24 25Mbps/10Mbps fibre – R399pm R11,616
All streaming services (R507.17 x 24) – ($5.99 x 1) 25Mbps/10Mbps fibre – R399pm R21,663

Now read: SABC launches 24-hour sports channel

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DStv vs Online streaming — Pricing showdown