by Thinus Ferreira
DStv subscribers in South Africa are adding their names to a petition that has been growing by tens of thousands, saying that they want similar across-the-board reductions in their monthly subscription fees and payment compassion from MultiChoice after the pay-TV operator gave massive discounts of up to 75% and free bouquet upgrades to subscribers elsewhere in Africa.
A parent complaining about DStv repeats said that her kids "laughed in my face that Anaconda has been repeated so much they are no longer scared".
By Friday morning over 28 200 people have signed the petition that increased by over another 10 000 to 38 800 by early Friday afternoon, after it was started on Thursday by Sfiso Gwala on the change.org platform.
The petition instantly became one of the "trending" and most popular petitions over the last 24 hours after South African DStv subscribers noticed the discounts and upgrades MultiChoice gave to its pay-TV customers in other African countries.
Because of the various Covid-19 national lockdown situations enacted across the African continent, MultiChoice has given subscription fee discounts of up to 44% to DStv subscribers and up to 75% to GOtv subscribers in Nigeria.
Meanwhile MultiChoice thanked DStv subscribers in Botswana this week for their loyalty and automatically upgraded them the next DStv bouquet for free.
While several other African countries already pay less than DStv subscribers in South Africa - MultiChoice's biggest market - South African subscribers haven't received reductions in their subscription fees or package upgrades where an annual price increase came into effect at the beginning of April.
MultiChoice Nigeria told DStv subscribers that it is giving the massive DStv and GOtv discounts to lessen the impact of the ongoing socio-economic crisis caused by Covid-19 in the West African country.
Martin Mabutho, MultiChoice Nigeria's chief customer officer said that the huge pay-TV discounts are a way of thanking pay-TV customers for their consistent loyalty.
MultiChoice Botswana automatically upgraded DStv subscribers on Monday 20 April to the next higher DStv bouquet for free.
"It is our priority to put customers at the heart of everything we do, and in line with our mission to make great entertainment available, even during the most trying of times, we wanted to gift our very loyal and valued customer base by giving them a chance to experience a wider range of the quality content we carry on our other packages," says Lorato Mwape, MultiChoice Botswana's acting managing director, in a statement.
"This is our token of appreciation for their continued support," she says.
On Thursday and again on Friday morning representatives of MultiChoice South Africa and it's PR company Aprio were asked whether MultiChoice has any plans to offer similar discounts or free upgrades to South African customers as in Nigeria and Botswana.
MultiChoice said it is working on a response. When comment is received from MultiChoice it will be added here.
TVwithThinus scanned and read through all of the comments left on the petition by 02:00 on Friday morning. Here is a selection:
"After cutting back and going back to DStv Compact since the kids are at home, I'm really disappointed that even the kids told me to cut back and save my money because they are tired of repeats. They laughed in my face that Anaconda has been repeated so much they are no longer scared."
- Lih Mcrepeat
"DStv keep on repeating shows. Now with lockdown, we do not get salaries and I think DStv can give us payers a holiday payment for at least 1 month or else they are going to lose subscribers." "I love DStv and for 8 years I subscribed with DStv that gives me good entertainment. Now with this pandemic Covid-19 I lost my job and I only have few savings. Please help reduce the cost."
- Lindokuhle Dlamini
"We can't be paying for repeats. No soccer and Indian soapies are on. Repeats and South African soapies will be on repeats as well."
- Itshekeng Mogotlhe
"DStv lacks content, they repeat programmes. Even the cartoons are repeated yet they charge so much. How can one watch Anaconda in 2020?"
- Pamela Mkonto
"DStv doesn't have a heart for their customers, my vehicle insurance has offered 10% during Covid-19 period, I expected DStv to ease or postpone the subscription. When my fibre is done I am going to Netflix period, DStv keeps on repeating the same old movies, It's a pity they take our loyalty for granted."
- Steven Mdlalose
"Prices are just too high. How can they give a price drop to other African countries except their own country? Do we not deserve it?"
"Prices are ridiculous and we are not working at the moment. The content has been reduced as there is no sport which is why I have DStv in the first place."
- Buzwe Jongolo
"I'm a student and I'm in Grade 12 and my mom hasn't been paid. I follow the Mindset channel to learn. So now if my mom can't pay how am I going to learn because self-studying is not easy for us."
- Oratile Simelane
"I have been a DStv client for over 10 years and a DStv Premium subscriber. What I have seen is that premium subscribers pay the most but get the least incentives. The subscription has also become too expensive over the years but very little benefit."
- Mdumiseni Mtshali
"I don't know why MultiChoice hasn't done this already amidst of what is happening in our country. I'm deeply disappointed with the company."
- Simpiwe Panziso
"There are lot of repeat shows, and soapies are temporary coming to an end. So we really deserve a payment break."
- Nkosinabo Vilakazi
"DStv is disrespectful to its South Afrikan clients. No sympathy even when the country is going through it's worst period in recent memory. The lack of compassion is absolutely ridiculous."
- Mpho Ratshefola
"This petition should go beyond the subscription fees, they should also stop showing the same thing over and over."
- Nyikk Maluleke
"Wanted to watch the movie Contagion but wasn't on a premium package. The same movie was played within a week on SABC television. To top it they didn't even put it on catch-up. Too many repeats and some shows are no longer filming, meaning I'll be paying for repeats."
- Mmakgoadi Ramaroko
"I am signing this petition because lots of companies, like banks, insurances and gym, are giving discounts or not charging at all. Why is DStv not doing the same for their customers. Is is arrogance or what?"
- Lindile Qubeka
"We find that so many movies are a repeat and it is old movies as well. In our lockdown period we need value for what we are paying for. Movie entertainment and the exploration of DStv should be top quality to promote your service. Most of your viewers do not have the full packages, BoxOffice or Netflix for variety movie choices. Now we request good service in this lockdown time and request for a discount or lower rate billing amount during this lockdown period."
- Renee Erasmus
"DStv must reduce the prices of their packages. They must open their decoders even to subscribers who did not pay. But they must only open learning channels and news. That DStv Now app is not working because people do not have data. Unless if they talk to service providers to zero-rate data charges on that useless DStv Now app."
- Mathule Letuka
"No one has money at the moment. People are struggling for everyday needs. We have been faithful subscribers since day 1 and now that we need you the most, we get cut off. Thank you. It has been a good ride. Maybe we should find comfort elsewhere."
- Tatenda Mtangi
"I'm the breadwinner who have 5 dependents including my husband who's a contractor and is currently affected by Covid-19 and doesn't earn any money! So my little salary can't cover most of my debt as we have to eat as well. The cut can make a huge difference."
- Linda Manyane
"We are at home with little to no income. This is the least they can do, we have been DStv subscribers for years. Else we switching to Netflix."
- Dimpho Ndlovu
"The content we are watching is obsolete. We are paying for new content not repeats. The least they can do is open up all channels at a fixed lower price to every subscriber during this lockdown. People are beginning to see the actual value they are getting from DStv because they watch TV everyday now."
- Bandile Mbanda
"I have been dedicated for many years to DStv. I never missed a payment, even with me being now unemployed. With Covid-19 indefinite lockdown why we all need a break."
- Stephen Ngcobo
"DStv only caters for other African nations but not for SA of which makes this company discriminatory."
- Mbulelo Magidela
"Many major companies that play a role in our daily lives have made a difference by taking a load off customers backs. This is not the time of making a quick buck while we’re home with no choice. As the human race we need to stand together now more than ever. Every little bit counts."
- Gugulethu Msibi
"There is no longer live sport, the rest is repeat rubbish. Premium subscribers are being ripped off."
- Edgar Hoffmann
"I'm very disappointed in the service that DStv is providing us with us as paying customers. DStv continues to air old content and has recently told us that they will be airing old episodes of some the local dramas/telenovelas, yet we're expected to pay the full amount by the end of the month. This is unfair as it is known that the country is in Lockdown and DStv should be offering us discounts or opening up all channels for us".
- Ntethelelo Hlongwa
"Isibaya, is about to run out of episodes, Gomora too, there are no live sports games so nothing is worth paying the ridiculous monthly premium."