Monday, February 11, 2019

MultiChoice won't increase DStv Premium fees in 2019 in South Africa as it tries to win back premium subscribers; price hike coming for other packages from April.

As it tries to stem the tide of subscribers abandoning its most expensive package, MultiChoice will keep the monthly subscription fee for DStv Premium unchanged for 2019, while planning on increasing prices for its other packages from 1 April 2019.

With the percentage of DStv Premium subscribers - the most valuable segment of MultiChoice's subscriber base - shrinking the past two years as more and more South African and consumers across other sub-Saharan countries abandoned its top-tier and most expensive package, MultiChoice is trying to stem the churn and won't be increase the price for this segment this year.

While DStv Premium subscribers won't pay more from April 2019, MultiChoice is taking away their DStv print magazine helping them with content discovery and knowing what programming is shown where as well as providing channel listings.

DStv Premium currently costs R809 per month, in addition to a R90 Access Fee that subscribers must pay if they want to use a personal video recorder (PVR) decoder like the DStv Explora.

In 2018 MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela blamed Netflix South Africa for the significant drop in DStv Premium subscribers, saying the global video streaming giant has been the cause of the loss of over 100 000 DStv Premium subscribers in the previous financial year, including another 40 000 in 2018.

MultiChoice, than plans to list on 27 February on the JSE as The MultiChoice Group is spun off from Naspers, didn't yet want to say which DStv packages will see a price hike from 1 April.

"From 1 April DStv will freeze the price of DStv Premium subscription packages, which means customers will pay the same for their packages in the next year," MultiChoice said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

"Customers on other packages will get a minimal increase, below inflation," said MultiChoice that didn't want to name the individual packages and their price hikes that will kick in from April.

At the moment DStv Compact Plus costs R509 per month, DStv Compact costs R385 per month, DStv Family is R249 per month, DStv Access costs R99 per month, and DStv EasyView costs R29 per month.

"We have a fantastic content line-up for the year ahead and would like as many customers as possible to be able to enjoy DStv."

MultiChoice says "we understand that times are tough in South Africa and that our customers are under pressure to make every cent they spent count. As such we're keeping DStv as affordable and accessible as possible to as many households as we can, to ensure they can enjoy great entertainment for their families."

UPDATE Tuesday 12 February 2019 - 12:00:
MultiChoice is telling DStv subscribers that DStv Compact Plus will increase from R509 to R519, DStv Compact will increase from R385 to R399, DStv Family will increase from R249 to R265, DStv Access will increase from R99 to R105.  DStv EasyView will remain unchanged at R29.