Tuesday, February 16, 2021

For MultiChoice just 2 desired DStv channels remain more valuable and are costing more than the entire rest of its pay-TV collection: M-Net and SuperSport's rugby.

by Thinus Ferreira

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush as the saying goes but with MultiChoice two very special TV birds in the hand, based on the price you pay, is worth more than all the rest of the birds in the DStv bush together.

MultiChoice sees and values two TV channels - or more specifically just two types of particular content that it packages and broadcasts as a pay-TV service - as being worth as much, and even more, than the entire rest of the combined content collection that it offers on DStv.

M-Net (DStv 101) and SuperSport - specifically SuperSport's rugby component and to a slightly lesser degree cricket - is worth more to MultiChoice than all the rest of its content combined.

MultiChoice charges DStv subscribers more for access to just M-Net and SuperSport's rugby than what MultiChoice charges for the entire rest of its collection of TV channels on DStv. 

But can you even get "just" M-Net and SuperSport's rugby? Doesn't MultiChoice use bundling whereby content from M-Net and SuperSport comes bundles in packages like DStv Premium where you get CBS Reality and E! and the Discovery Channel even if you don't want those specific channels?

There are indeed, still, DStv subscribers who get "only" M-Net. 

They are legacy M-Net subscribers who have been with M-Net when it sold terrestrial M-Net decoders when M-Net was a stand-alone channel that later added SuperSport as a brand extension and channel.

New and current DStv subscribers can no longer subscribe to this M-Net GOtv package but original M-Net subscribers who were migrated during DStv's switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT) were and are allowed to keep it. 

These subscribers still get just the M-Net channel, stacked with its premium HBO, Showtime and leading Hollywood studios content, and a so-called "community channel" that is essentially a SuperSport channel - a customised SuperSport channel version repackaged with specifically rugby and cricket content as the main focus. 

A study of MultiChoice's latest DStv price hike with the increases that will come into effect from 1 April and an analysis of the price segmentation for the various tiered DStv packages, effectively serves as an illustration of not only which channels and content are costing MultiChoice the most, but also what channels and content it considers the most valuable and in turn charges the highest prices for.

From 1 April DStv Premium subscribers will pay R829 per month for 159 TV channels. 

This includes M-Net as MultiChoice's most-prized channel, occupying spot 101 on the DStv channel number grid, as well as the SuperSport channels with rugby, cricket and other premium sports content.

MultiChoice didn't reveal this information in its press release when it responded to a media enquiry about its latest DStv price hike, but from 1 April, M-Net GOtv - subscribers with just M-Net and SuperSport's rugby and cricket content - will see a price hike of over 11% to R485 per month.

With this R485 of M-Net and SuperSport in value stripped out of DStv Premium's R829, it leaves R344. 

This R344 is the value or worth that MultiChoice assigns to the combined rest of its DStv Premium bouquet without M-Net and SuperSport's rugby and cricket content.

Last week and again this week MultiChoice was asked why the pay-TV service is hiking legacy M-Net GOtv subscribers' monthly fee by 11.49% from April - much higher than South Africa's inflation rate - from R435 to R485. MultiChoice didn't respond to the media enquiry.

TVwithThinus asked MultiChoice last week, and again this week, if it is possible to talk to Simon Camerer, MultiChoice Group chief operating officer (COO), about DStv's latest price increases.

This was after the pay-TV company selected Simon Camerer to do interviews with three media outlets about the price increase during which Simon Camerer said that MultiChoice is doing 2021 price increases below inflation and also said that "on a weighted average basis, you're looking at a 2.4% increase".

It's not clear if the massive 11.49% price hike for legacy M-Net subscribers is part of the price hike basket that MultiChoice used to calculate the 2.4% weighted average increase.

Benedict Maaga, MultiChoice spokesperson, told TVwithThinus on Monday that Simon Camerer is unfortunately not available at this time for an interview.

Interestingly, the R344 - the upfront rand-value of what DStv Premium is supposedly worth when it's stripped of the M-Net channel and SuperSport's rugby and cricket - is much less than what MultiChoice charges for DStv Compact Plus (R539 from April) and DStv Compact (R409), with both of those packages that don't contain the M-Net or SuperSport Grandstand (DStv 201) channel.