Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Complaints flooding in over MultiChoice's latest 2016 DStv price hike as subscribers threaten to cancel - only they very likely won't.
Complaints are flooding in over MultiChoice's latest price hike for 2016 with subscribers threatening to cancel - only evidence and consumer history predict that they very likely won't.
With the latest DStv price hike set to come into effect on 1 April, furious DStv subscribers are venting, with many saying they're ready to get rid of their DStv.
Yet, despite stiff annual DStv increases for over a decade, MultiChoice's DStv subscriber base in South Africa has continued to grow annually.
In fact, ongoing multinational research reports the past few years about the pay-TV market in South Africa and elsewhere across the African continent continue to highlight the country and sub-Sahara Africa as one of the bright spots and fast-growing international markets for satellite pay-TV.
While households might complain about the rising cost of pay-TV subscriptions like DStv, the economic reality is that there's more pay-TV households in South Africa every year that the year before.
While some TV households might see it as a grudge payment, and while DStv is not a necessity, millions of South African TV households simply cannot bear being without their DStv package and the TV channels and shows it provides.
Ironically DStv subscribers in neighbouring countries like Zimbabweans are noting that DStv in South Africa is not only cheaper in rand but also offer more channels and better local TV content.
Many Zimbabweans try to acquire so-called "ghost accounts" - DStv subscriptions registered in South Africa, in order to pay less and to get access to the larger bouquet of DStv channels offered in South Africa.
Since Tuesday angry DStv subscribers in South Africa have been venting under the #DStvMustFall hashtag and others on Twitter and across other social media platforms about the latest above inflation DStv price increase that sees DStv Premium breaking through the psychological threshold of R700 per month for the first time, and increases of 8% or above for the majority of DStv packages.
"Your planned price hike will be losing a customer," wrote Ryan Robertson. "Do you honestly think I am going to pay what you asking to watch sport only? I will find a cheaper and better option".
"Dear DStv, since you are increasing premiums ... are you gonna stop repeating all your programs?" asked Khutso Seema.
Lesego Magoro suggested that "lets all go back to watching government channels".
"DStv I understand that you buy your shows in foreign currency. Also understand that South Africans don't earn salaries in foreign currency," wrote Saint Paul.
"DStv is a status symbol among aspirant media audiences and consumers and the growing South African middle class," Dr Musa Ndlovu, a media expert and a senior lecturer in media studies at the University of Cape Town's Centre for Film and Media Studies, told me recently as to why he think people get and keep their DStv subscriptions despite rising prices.