Sunday, May 6, 2018

China's StarSat and StarTimes introduce a daily and weekly pay rate; MultiChoice says it has no plans for a pay-per-day option for DStv subscribers.

China's StarTimes operating as StarTimes in Kenya and StarSat in South Africa introduced a new daily and weekly pay rate, with subscribers who can now pay-and-watch for a daily or weekly fee, while Naspers' pay-TV satellite pay-TV operator MultiChoice says it has no plans to introduce a pay-per-day option for DStv subscribers.

In the same week that Yolisa Phahle, the CEO of general entertainment at MultiChoice, in her speech at MultiChoice's 5th Digital Dialogue Conference, warned that pay-TV operators will have to find new ways of engaging better with viewers who have more choices than ever since shiny substitutes Netflix, Facebook and YouTube "are ready to eat our lunch in an instant, StarTimes threw down the gauntlet to with a new payment formula for subscribers.

Besides paying for a monthly subscription, StarTimes in Kenya and South Africa introduced what it calls a new "flexible subscription payment formula" to slurp up potential pay-TV subscribers who can't afford to pay for a regular monthly subscription but who has enough personal disposable income to pay for a day, or a week or two.

Similar to monthly bus or train tickets that are a lot cheaper than a single, or single return spot price ticket, the daily and weekly StarTimes and StarSat fees work out much more expensively for consumers but are also less than the monthly subscription fees that's a financial hurdle preventing a lot of people from trying and sampling or to get access to entry-level subscription television services.

StarTimes Kenya on Thursday said customers can now pay-per-day or pay-per-week for access to one of four StarTimes Kenya bouquets, ranging from as little as Sh22 (R2.74) for the Nyota, Sh50 (R6.23) for the Basic, Sh83 (R10.35) for Classic, and Sh125 (R15.59) for the Unique bouquet on a pay-per-day basis.

Japhet Akhulia, StarTimes Kenya marketing director, says "in rolling out the flexible subscription payment system, we are providing our subscribers with the choice of daily, weekly or monthly payment options enabling them to plan accordingly based on the resources at their disposal while ensuring they do not miss their favourite programs on StarTimes".

In South Africa, StarSat, run by StarTimes Media SA and On Digital Media (ODM), people who want to get access to its service, can now pay-per-day for a fee starting at R9 for the Special (R39 weekly), R19 for the Super (R69 weekly), and R9 (39 weekly) for the Indian bouquet.

Compare that to the monthly subscription fees of R109 for Special, R209 for Super, and R109 for the Indian bouquet.

StarSat didn't respond to a media enquiry.

MultiChoice in response to a media enquiry from TVwithThinus as to whether it's looking at or would introduce a pay-per-day or weekly subscription offering, said the pay-TV operator is not currently considering a plan to give DStv subscribers access to its pay-TV offering on a pay-per-day or pay-per-week basis.

"DStv customers currently pay on a month-to-month basis, with the option to upgrade their service to another package at any time," said MultiChoice.

"This option is quite popular as customers upgrade their service for some of the holidays such as school holidays."

"Our holiday viewing option also offers our customers the chance to only pay for the days they have watched at their holiday home. Each of our customers can designate one decoder at another location to act as a holiday viewing decoder, in addition to their normal subscription."

"While we're always looking for ways to further enhance the service we offer, and give our customers an even better and more flexible viewing experience, we're not currently looking to offer a pay-per-day or -week service."

Meanwhile MultiChoice Nigeria is adding confusion, with the MultiChoice Africa boss of the country with the largest DStv subscriber base outside of South Africa, saying this week that MultiChoice may consider the pay-as-you-consume payment option.

After first being adamant that the so-called pay-per-view option isn't possible and not used anywhere in the world, John Ugbe, MultiChoice Nigeria managing director, according to reports, said at MultiChoice's 5th Digital Dialogue held this past week in Dubai, that "pay-as-you-consume is something we may consider, if it is technologically possible and the business model supports it".