Tuesday, July 26, 2011
BREAKING. MultiChoice using an interim solution to process DStv BoxOffice rental requests; asks subscribers to keep using the service.
Although MultiChoice can't yet say when its system handling rental requests for its newly launched DStv BoxOffice service will be fully operational and functioning perfectly, the pay TV operator is now talking and answering questions and explaining what happened when a core system crashed on Friday.
The outage caused an embarrassing contretemps on the day of its commercial launch this past Friday as South Africa's first true video-on-demand (VOD) system. DStv BoxOffice allows subscribers to rent a rolling list of 15 movies at a cost of R25 each for a period of 48 hours in high- or standard definition, depending on the PVR and TV set. SouthTel plans to launch a similar VOD service called VOD.TV in September.
MultiChoice launched the buzzed-about and highly anticipated DStv BoxOffice on Friday but suddenly experienced a deluge of angry and disappointed DStv Premium subscribers who wanted to try the new service that activates with the green button on the remote control. Subscribers couldn't get it to work, with a litany of complaints ranging from movie titles not being available, incomplete playlists, blank screens, no confirmation after multiple SMSes requesting a movie, and movie titles not downloaded to hard drives.
Subscribers were furious and started venting on social networks about the pay TV operator and the non-functioning new service after desperately phoning the call centre only to be kept on hold for too long and then being told by call centre operators that the system isn't working.
TV with Thinus.
The pay TV platform tells me it became aware of the problem on Friday evening. ''The service operated smoothly at launch. Unfortunately one of the core systems to process BoxOffice requests then malfunctioned.'' On Saturday morning MultiChoice said it will now offer 2 movies for free to subscribers because of the system mishap, instead of the one free movie the operator initially allowed subscribers to watch in order to get them to sample the new VOD system. MultiChoice also implemented an interim solution to process DStv BoxOffice rental requests for the time being, saying that ''we will advise when the problem is resolved.''
MultiChoice says that ''should you not be able to view your movie title within 30 minutes of your initial request, we ask you to please start the rental process again. Thank you for your understanding during this time.'' The pay TV platform says the correct and latest software not loaded on DStv PVRs and which also caused consternation under several DStv subscribers is not linked to this problem. The operator said at launch that PVRs should not be unplugged so that the latest software could be downloaded. The latest DStv BoxOffice enabled software was downloaded through satellite to decoders since Thursday night.
After the subscriber uproar the past few days, MultiChoice is now asking that DStv Premium subscribers with a SD or HD PVR please keep trying the new service and promised that they won't be billed for errors. ''DStv would like to encourage our subscribers to continue to use the DStv BoxOffice service. Unsuccessful rentals will not be charged for,'' says the operator. The direct DStv BoxOffice telephone helpline is 011 289 2244.
REVIEW. DStv BoxOffice is easy to navigate and understand, quick to access, with a simplistic design.
ANALYSIS. MultiChoice's next appointment? A psychohistory expert to help predict demand.
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