Friday, March 20, 2020

Coronavirus: MultiChoice makes SuperSport 1 and SuperSport 7 channels available to lower-tiered DStv packages; StarSat says its TV channels are free on its app.

by Thinus Ferreira

Pay-TV in South Africa is starting to following the lead of overseas satellite subscription television services as the global Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic grows with MultiChoice that isn't yet offering free weeks of service to DStv subscribers as others are doing but that is making premium SuperSport channels available to lower-tiered bouquets.

MultiChoice has made some of its channels freely accessible on its DStv Now streaming platform, while TV channels can also be watched for free on StarSat's app.

Pay-TV services worldwide are grappling with how to make up for the content - especially sport but also other general entertainment - that subscribers have already paid for but that isn't happening anymore due to cancellations and postponements due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Sky's Sky Sports is allowing subscribers to freeze their Sky subscriptions while Viaplay from the Nordic Entertainment Group operating in the Scandinavian countries has reduced the subscription fees on all of its sports packages.

In Germany Sky is giving all its subscribers its Sky Cinema and Sky Entertainment packages for free for the next month.

In France Canal+ announced this week that it is making its service free for two weeks. "Canal Plus goes free for everyone on all set-top boxes. For our subscribers we are opening up the access to all our channels - cinema, series, youth and documentaries," Maxime Saada, Canal+ chairman and CEO said.

Canal+ is also doing the same across Africa in all African nations where it operates where anyone with a Canal+ decoder will be able to access all channels until 30 April 2020.

On Thursday MultiChoice made the SuperSport 1 and SuperSport 7 channels available to lower-tiered DStv subscribers until 30 April 2020.

SuperSport 1 that is only available to DStv Premium subscribers can now be accessed by DStv Compact and DStv Compact Plus subscribers as well. SuperSport 7 can now be watched by DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact, DStv Access and DStv Family subscribers as well.

SuperSport 1 has programmed the ESPN acquired "30 for 30" documentary series which has been showing since this past Monday.

MultiChoice is also offering a selection of the TV news channels carried on DStv for free to any South African viewer on its streaming DStv Now platform, along with the People’s Weather, SuperSport Play, PBS Kids and Channel O music channel.

Some older library episodes of the series Igazi, The River, Isibaya, Binnelanders, Suidooster, and Die Ware Naarheid are are accessible.

MultiChoice has also made CNN International (DStv 401) available to DStv Family and DStv Access subscribers. Africanews has launched on DStv channel 417. 

The Da Vinci (DStv 318) channel has been added to DStv until the end of May and ViacomCBS Networks Africa's Nickelodeon (DStv 305) has been made available to DStv Compact, DStv Family and DStv Access subscribers until 14 April.

StarTimes told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry that StarSat's online streaming platform, StarTimes On, is available to all South Africans "with severalnews, kids, educational, sports and entertainment TV channels to view for free, as well as plenty of video-on-demand content".

"Even without subscribing to StarSat's pay-TV account customers can have access to basic and critical information of the current Covid-19 pandemic".