DStv channel changes in 2024

DStv has dropped or lost seven TV channels and only added one in the past six months.

The broadcaster’s wide range of channels and content is a key reason for its popularity in South Africa and several other African countries.

DStv parent MultiChoice regularly analyses the performance of channels to see whether their content resonates with its viewers and performs well enough to justify carriage.

“This is done to ensure we deliver unbeatable content to our customers and that our DStv services cater for the needs and viewing requirements of our customers,” MultiChoice explained in a recent channel shake-up.

Channels that do not deliver sufficient viewership relative to their cost can be axed, often without a replacement in sight.

Previous analyses by MyBroadband showed that DStv has shed more channels than it has added since 2019.

In the year-to-date, it has cut several more channels, most with highly specialised content focused on certain demographics or locations.

Below are the channels that have been axed in the past six months and a short description of their content:

  • Deutsche Welle — German state-funded channel with news content, primarily of interest to German expats
  • WildEarth — Nature channel with live-streaming of game drives from Djuma Game Reserve in Mpumalanga
  • People’s Weather — 24/7 weather-focused channel with environmental and lifestyle content
  • B4U Movies — Free-to-air Indian TV movie channel
  • 1Free State TV — Free State province community TV channel
  • NWTV —North West province community TV channel
  • Emmanuel TV — Religious channel run by Nigerian televangelist TB Joshua

Many of the channels scrapped over the past six months were not due to MultiChoice’s decisions but those of their providers.

For example, Deutsche Welle terminated its linear channels across all platforms at the end of 2023 to focus more on its on-demand offerings.

WildEarth also pulled its channel at the end of April 20224 after what it claims was a failure by MultiChoice to provide promised financial support.

“We have been begging MultiChoice for over a year to support us. We have made the case that not paying us anything for our content is unsustainable for us — although great for them,” said WildEarth chair André Crawford-Brunt.

The table below summarises DStv’s channel changes over the past six months.

DStv channel changes in 2024
Date of change Added Dropped/Lost
1 January 2024 446 — Deutsche Welle
1 February 2024 264 — 1Free State TV
1 February 2024 266 — NWTV
1 March 2024 451 — B4U Movies
1 March 2024 180 — People’s Weather
1 April 2024 1Max
30 April 2024 183 — WildEarth
17 January 2024 390 — Emmanuel TV
Total 1 7

MultiChoice is currently embroiled in a legal battle with eMedia over the former’s attempts to remove four of eMedia’s channels from DStv.

eMedia regards the distribution of its E.tv Extra, eToonz, eMovies, and eMovies Extra as a significant contributor to its audience and market share.

MultiChoice initially carried the channels on DStv as part of a five-year commercial agreement that ran from March 2017 until March 2022, but decided to cut the channels for “commercial reasons” in May 2022.

eMedia has argued that MultiChoice refusing to carry the channels was an abuse of its dominance in contravention of the Competition Act.

The company has told the Competition Tribunal that dropping these four channels from DStv would see it lose up to 19% of its advertising revenue.

The Competition Tribunal initially ruled in favour of MultiChoice and said eMedia’s complaint does not meet the requirements for exclusionary conduct.

However, it subsequently ordered MultiChoice to keep the channels on its platform pending the hearing of eMedia’s appeal in the Competition Appeal Court in August 2024.

In a separate matter, eMedia has also lodged a complaint over the short time for which MultiChoice opens sub-licencing of its exclusive sports broadcasting rights.

In the latest conflict, eMedia took issue with MultiChoice only opening a tender for free-to-air broadcasters to bid for sub-licensing rights to the T20 Cricket World Cup five weeks before it started.

eMedia explained that bidders were unlikely to receive confirmation of broadcasting rights until less than two weeks before the event, which would not leave enough time to secure sponsors, arrange advertising, and adjust programming schedules.

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DStv channel changes in 2024