DStv Premium versus uncapped fibre and Netflix

MultiChoice-owned DStv hiked the price of its Premium package to R839 per month earlier in 2022, with the broadcaster highlighting that the increase was significantly less than projected inflation for the year.

A MyBroadband analysis revealed that South Africans could get a 10Mbps or 20Mbps fibre subscription combined with any of Netflix’s subscriptions and still pay less per month than the price of DStv Premium.

Those looking for higher broadband speeds can get a 50Mbps fibre line with Netflix’s Basic subscription for R43 less per month than they would pay for DStv’s top-tier package.

Netflix offers four packages in South Africa — Mobile, Basic, Standard, and Premium — ranging from R49 to R199 per month. We did not consider the Mobile subscription for this comparison.

Its Basic package costs R99 per month and limits streaming to 720p while allowing a maximum of one stream at a time.

The Standard subscription limits streaming to 1080p and allows up to two concurrent streams for R159 per month.

Netflix’s Premium subscription lets you watch up to four streams concurrently and doesn’t limit streaming resolution. Therefore, Premium subscribers can watch streams in 4K for R199 per month.

DStv implemented a one-stream limit on its over-the-top (OTT) service to combat password sharing and streaming piracy in March 2022.

Following the initial announcement, DStv faced significant backlash from its subscribers, with some threatening to boycott the broadcaster.

However, in June, MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela said that the broadcaster had noticed an uptick in DStv streaming subscriptions following its decision to limit concurrent streaming.

“It supports the view that we have made the correct decision to limit concurrent streaming because people were abusing the system,” he added.

Aside from subscription streaming services, it is important to consider that uncapped broadband connections also provide access to a range of free video entertainment services, including YouTube and Twitch.

YouTube, for example, has several broadcasters that live-stream sports events, such as the Under 20 Six Nations Summer Series, the FanCode European Cricket Series, and a range of eSports events for free.

DStv’s existential threat

The rapid expansion of international and local streaming platforms in South Africa, combined with dropping uncapped fibre prices, poses a significant threat to DStv’s satellite broadcasting services.

As fibre prices continue to drop, streaming becomes more accessible to South African residents. Over recent years DStv has observed a gradual decline in customers on its top-tier Premium package.

In February 2021, MultiChoice told industry regulator Icasa that over-the-top providers like Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, HBO Now, and Peacock pose an existential competitive threat to DStv.

It stated that services like Netflix and YouTube are its biggest competitors and a significant threat to its business.

“Currently competition is fierce and will continue to grow rapidly and in a disruptive way,” MultiChoice said.

The table below summarises the price of Netflix’s available subscriptions with 10Mbps, 20Mbps, and 50Mbps fibre connections. We used fibre packages available through Afrihost on Frogfoot Air, Openserve Web Connect, and Zoom Fibre’s networks.

Netflix and uncapped fibre vs DStv Premium
Netflix package Price per month with fibre DStv Premium price per month  Difference
10Mbps
Basic R396 R839 R443
Standard R456 R839 R383
Premium R496 R839 R343
20Mbps
Basic R488 R839 R351
Standard R548 R839 R291
Premium R588 R839 R251
50Mbps
Basic R796 R839 R43
Standard R856 R839 R17
Premium R896 R839 R57

Now read: DStv’s channel changes in 2022 — with more to come

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DStv Premium versus uncapped fibre and Netflix