Wednesday, November 18, 2020

This is the reason why MultiChoice hasn't yet announced that it is adding Amazon Prime Video as a video streamer to its new DStv Explora Ultra decoder.

by Thinus Ferreira

After rolling out access to Netflix South Africa through its new DStv Explora Ultra decoder from this week, MultiChoice will soon announce yet another video streamer addition - very likely Amazon Prime Video - and here's the reason why the pay-TV operator hasn't made this official announcement yet.

In June this year, MultiChoice slipped up when it included and revealed that both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are the first two international subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services that it plans to add to its new carousel of video streaming services.

MultiChoice included Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in its public 2019/2020 financial results presentation, only to quickly redo its presentation a day later to delete the Netflix and Amazon Prime Video references and imaging across its pages and then refusing to say anything about it.

Last week on Thursday MultiChoice finally officially announced its best kept open secret for months and said that DStv subscribers will be able to get access to Netflix SA through the new DStv Explora Ultra decoder that will go on sale from this week at R2 499.

MultiChoice timed the announcement of its partnership with Netflix through its new decoder, for Thursday morning to be on the same day as it released its financial results for the 6 months until the end of September 2020 on Thursday afternoon. In that way MultiChoice could have something new and buzzworthy to talk about with local and international investors on its investors' call on Friday on the day after the release of its latest set of numbers.  

So what happened to Amazon Prime Video on DStv?

Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice CEO, on Friday's investors' call, said that MultiChoice wants to give individual new video streamers and DStv each their own period of time to first publicise and market that individual new over-the-top (OTT) video addition.

In terms of attention management, MultiChoice, that is transitioning to the role of an aggregating video mall with different types of video shops housed inside it, wants to give the time to shine a spotlight on each of the video streaming windows that will start to populate its storefront, in order to maximise both the possible consumer awareness under potential customers, as well as possible media coverage.

"The only thing that we need to make sure of is that we give time for particular products to, a particular player to come in and get integrated and for the market to know that it is available, and get the marketing going. Then the other products will then also follow," Calvo Mawela said.

"But I can assure you that they're imminent. There will be others that are going to follow, we just need to make sure that there is opportunity in the market to make people aware of the product as they come in. So it will happen very, very soon," Calvo Mawela said.

Both ViacomCBS with its new Paramount+ streaming service and WarnerMedia with its HBO Max plan to roll them out internationally from 2021 and are potential shiny new streaming apps to pop up in future on the DStv Explora Ultra's user interface, although neither has said anything yet specifically about a potential launch date for South Africa or the African market as a territory.

Likewise The Walt Disney Company has rolled out its hugely popular Disney+ SVOD in Canada, North America, South America, the UK and Europe already, as well as New Zealand and Australia that are comparable TV markets to South Africa. Disney has so far been silent in response to media enquiries about when, or if, it plans to bring Disney+ to South Africa.