DStv’s big streaming plans

MultiChoice says it plans to unveil further streaming-related products this year to enhance its customers’ experience.

MyBroadband asked the pay-TV broadcaster how its add-on Extra Stream subscriptions performed and whether the move met its expectations.

“MultiChoice is pleased with the initial responses received from our customers regarding their desire for more flexibility in engaging with their favourite content,” said MultiChoice.

“In response to this feedback, we have launched a second mobile stream option that customers can add to their package, providing them with increased access and convenience.”

“We look forward to unveiling further exciting innovations in the coming year, all aimed at enhancing the streaming experience for our customers,” it added.

MultiChoice launched its Extra Mobile Stream subscriptions for DStv in August 2023 to allow two people to stream on one account simultaneously, providing one watches through the DStv Stream app on a mobile device.

Each DStv account holder can only add one Extra Stream, which can be bolted to the account through the self-service platform on DStv’s website.

Alternatively, account holders can contact DStv via its call centre, social media, or service centre.

Pricing varies based on your package as follows:

  • DStv Premium — R199
  • DStv Compact Plus — R149
  • DStv Compact — R99
  • DStv Family — R79
  • DStv Access — R49

In addition to the extra stream, DStv increased the maximum number of registered devices on an account from four to 10.

The move to offer Extra Stream add-ons comes after DStv limited concurrent streaming to combat password sharing.

In February 2022, the pay-TV broadcaster announced it would restrict streaming to one device at a time.

“We will not limit the number of people using a login, however, we are limiting the number of people who can stream at the same time,” MultiChoice explained.

“Password sharing and piracy are challenges for streaming providers globally.”

“As part of our ongoing efforts to counteract password sharing and piracy, while continuing to bring you the best viewing experience, we will be introducing measures to limit concurrent streaming,” it added.

The company faced backlash from its customers following the announcement, with some threatening to boycott the broadcaster entirely.

Nyiko Shiburi, former MultiChoice South Africa CEO

Despite this, then-MultiChoice South Africa CEO Nyiko Shiburi said the company’s efforts to reduce password sharing on its DStv streaming platform have been a major success.

This was roughly six months after the password crackdown commenced.

He explained that DStv customers sharing passwords with friends and family reduces the revenue that companies like MultiChoice receive.

“This is piracy and hurts the whole industry. When we invest in content, we expect certain returns, and when people share [passwords], we don’t get our money back,” said Shiburi.

“After we limited the number of [concurrent] streams, we have seen an uptick in the take-up of DStv as some of those people who were given passwords [of existing subscribers] came on board.”

MultiChoice’s focus on streaming comes amid substantial declines in subscriber numbers.

Its interim results for the first half of the 2023/24 financial year revealed that the broadcaster lost approximately 486,000 subscribers between September 2022 and September 2023.

By the end of September 2023, DStv’s 90-day active subscribers stood at 8.629 million, compared to the 9.115 million subscribers it had at the same point in 2022.

The company said most of its subscriber losses had come from its decision to end a pricing promotion it launched in 2022 to provide its customers with financial relief amid load-shedding challenges.

As a result, 311,000 non-revenue generating customers on its “Surprise and Delight” package were removed from DStv’s 90-day active subscriber base, accounting for roughly 3% of the total 5% decline.

The other major factor MultiChoice blamed for its subscriber decline was increased load-shedding. MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela said the company is considering selling solar power products to combat this.

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DStv’s big streaming plans