Since streaming services like Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ have entered the South African market, they took over a market previously monopolised by DStv. Growing up in South Africa, you either had the primary channels like SABC or DStv, which gave you a vast network of TV and cable options. But now everyone wants to stream, stop, start, and download their content at their leisure, effectively making a platform like DStv redundant. Not to worry, though, because MultiChoice is ready, and DStv’s plan to reclaim its throne is pretty brilliant: upgrading Showmax with Peacock for a stronger streaming service.
DStv’s first plan to join the so-called “streaming wars” was MultiChoice’s Showmax, a video-on-demand service launched in 2015. While this has seen some significant growth, they want to take things to the next level: aggregate all available options on one unified platform by partnering up with its competitors rather than fighting them head-on.
To start this “super aggregation strategy”, MultiChoice managed to sign a deal with Netflix and Amazon in 2020 (which now also includes Disney+), which offers their streaming services through its new decoder — what they are calling their “one-stop shop+”. This unique service allows users to subscribe to one service but have access to a variety of content from different platforms, being able to watch DStv, Showmax, Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ content all on one account.
This deal has also moved forward in the form of their joint venture with Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Sky, meaning that Showmax is now powered by NBCUniversal’s Peacock. This means there is a slight change in ownership. NBCUniversal will now own 30% of the company in exchange for providing international third-party content and leading streaming technology from Peacock. MultiChoice maintains 70% and offers local content and an African customer base.
Nitesh Singh, Accenture MD for communications, media and technology in Africa, praised the structure of the deal. “This is an exceptional deal and shows that MultiChoice is thinking outside the box. By changing the ownership structure, they will acquire content from partners rather than suppliers – I think at very beneficial rates.”
DStv and MultiChoise are looking into more ways to enter the streaming market competitively. One of those ways is internet service provision. DStv Internet Service was launched in 2021. It allows customers to get internet access and DStv all under one provider, simplifying their lives significantly.
MultiChoice has recently made new fibre bundles available through “wholesale partnerships, ” giving customers options for more stable internet. Imagine a world where you could get everything you needed for your media consumption needs under one provider. This is precisely what MultiChoice and DStv are trying to do.