Home arts and entertainment DStv loses 900,000 subscribers as Netflix and other streamers ramp up competition

DStv loses 900,000 subscribers as Netflix and other streamers ramp up competition

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MultiChoice, a major pay-TV provider in Africa, is experiencing a large number of customers leaving.

MultiChoice is facing financial strain following a substantial loss in subscribers, as reported in their 2024 annual report.

Their active subscriber base declined from 27.3 million to 26.4 million, with a net loss of about 900,000 subscribers across all regions.

DStv offers different pay TV packages levels like DStv Premium, Compact Plus, Compact, Family and other packages to subscribers across the African continent.

The company is facing increased competition from global streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, which provide a wider range of content options at competitive prices.

Phumzile Ntuli, a former subscriber, voiced dissatisfaction with DStv’s pricing.

“I discontinued my DSTV subscription because they frequently raised package prices without offering sufficient content for us to watch, which I found unfair,” Ntuli explained.

She has since switched to platforms like Showmax, which is also owned by MultiChoice, and Netflix, which she finds more economically viable.

Sphesihle Nkosi shared similar thoughts, pointing out that DStv raised its prices every year without adding more shows or movies.

“Their prices keep going up, but they don’t give us anything new to watch, and they also repeat shows from their packages.

“We are still watching series and movies that aired or premiered in 2013, but we pay an exorbitant amount of money.”

These feelings show that more and more customers are preferring streaming services because they are flexible, affordable, and offer a wide range of content choices.

Platforms like Showmax, Netflix and Amazon Prime have gained popularity for their extensive libraries of movies, series, and original productions, catering to diverse tastes at competitive prices.

In an interview with Jimmy Moyaha, MultiChoice’s Chief Financial Officer, Tim Jacobs, acknowledged the challenges faced during the fiscal year.

“We saw affordability hitting really dire straits. In some countries in Africa, at some point, we literally are competing against basic foodstuffs,” Jacobs highlighted.

He said part of the decline in subscribers was due to economic pressures, such as inflation rates exceeding 30% in some markets.

Despite these challenges, MultiChoice reported a mixed financial performance.

Efforts to cut costs and reduce subsidies led to a 24% rise in operational performance, excluding large currency losses amounting to R4.5 billion.

These losses impacted the company’s net profit, which declined by 21% despite operational gains.

Jacobs also addressed the performance of Showmax, noting a strategic shift with the Showmax 2.0 relaunch aimed at enhancing competitiveness.

“We saw revenue in Showmax looking relatively flat on subscription revenue. But at the same time, we successfully migrated 100% of eligible customers to the new platform,” Jacobs explained.

Regarding DStv, Jacobs acknowledged challenges posed by competitors like Disney+ and Netflix.

“DStv has the bulk of video subscribers. So when you have a very tough environment, we would expect our base to perform slightly worse,” he commented.

But he highlighted ongoing efforts to adjust DStv’s offerings in response to a shifting digital landscape.

People on Twitter have also voiced their opinions on this matter.

Eugene Ndaba, tweeting as @EugeneN5141, advised MultiChoice to allow subscribers to choose their preferred channels instead of imposing what he termed as “dictatorship,” highlighting this as a reason for some people unsubscribing.

Similarly, Layman, tweeting under the handle @KobusKoekemoer, revealed: “I’m one of those subscribers that was lost by MultiChoice thanks to the internet. This company got arrogant with ridiculous prices for subscriptions.

“They must adapt to the needs of customers. Pay per view is the best way and must reduce the cost of data services.”

MultiChoice needs to improve its content, adjust prices, and handle these challenges well to keep customers and compete with big streaming companies.

By Christopher Buda

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