MultiChoice says the Naspers-owned pay-TV operator is hard at work on a dishless DStv, streaming-only consumer option that it plans to launch in 2019, and that will mirror the existing direct-to-home (DTH) DStv service but work through the internet without the need for a decoder and a satellite dish.
With South Africa's entire TV industry now facing seismic change due to a rapidly evolving digital environment that already wrought devastating and dramatic changes to the print media and music industry, MultiChoice is responding to the video entertainment sphere that is being radically altered by ongoing advances in internet broadband penetration and speed.
MultiChoice in 2019 will launch a stand-alone "internet" or over-the-top (OTT) version of DStv to capture pay-TV subscribers who are able to and want to watch premium pay-TV content this way, as well as to combat churn and to compete with the proliferation of global OTT players like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others who have entered the South African and African market and are starting to steal DStv subscribers away.
MultiChoice already runs the DStv Now OTT service as an added-on bundled service for DStv subscribers, but will launch a stand-alone commercial version that is like this, sometime next year, said Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice South Africa CEO, in a wide-ranging interview about the pay-TV giant’s view on the rapidly changing TV and subscription television landscape in South Africa and across the African continent.
MultiChoice has to work out international content streaming rights, as well as the costing and pricing of the service.
"I can confirm, yes we are working on a dishless DStv service offering which is purely online, almost a replica of what DStv is today," Calvo Mawela told TVwithThinus on Tuesday.
"Teams ranging from technology to marketing are busy working on this proposition to make sure that we have a full online offering similar to DStv."
"In terms of timelines we would like to bring the first product possible without any glitches that can work seamlessly and without problems – that is what the teams are focused on – to make sure that when we go out to market, we have all the areas covered: price points, how the marketing is going to be, how well it will work."
"This is a work in progress," said Calvo Mawela. "We anticipate that next year sometime we should be able to go full-blown on this offering. However we are pushing the teams hard to be able to bring that product offering forward."
"Unfortunately I can't share with you an exact time, but as soon as we can, we will share with you the launch plans and what the offering is going to be. But we are definitely going that route."