DSTV’s unfair pricing model


dstvLike most men I like sports; I find Test cricket and the UEFA Champions league particularly interesting. I also like Nature and History documentaries although I care little for gossip news or “reality” televisions shows like Idols and X-factor. Under no circumstances will you find me watching Big Brother or Race. No one in our home watches these shows. They simply do not interest us as they might do to some people. I find it galling therefore that, under the current arrangement with MultiChoice, I have to pay for a lot of channels that I do not like just so I can watch sports.


Under the current pricing regime channels are grouped into bouquets which are “tailored” to suit different needs. Ostensibly this is so that people can choose a bouquet that they can afford. Conspicuously absent from these low priced bouquets however are the most popular sporting channels (most SuperSport channels) which are instead only found under the DStv premium bouquet.

The DStv premium bouquet has about 119 channels. In any given month few people ever get to watch even half of these. Why would I want to watch the RTP channel when I don’t understand a single word of Portuguese? I think being forced to pay for channels that you will never watch so that you will have the ones that you want is unjust. It would only be just if the current price oriented bouquets are replaced by a system where people pay per channel.


I am sure everyone has their tastes when it comes to watching Television. I have aunts, uncles and cousins who will do anything to watch entertainment news or reality television. I am still to find anyone who likes the Travel and Blackbelt channels though. Instead of having channels arbitrarily put into bouquets a price tag should be placed on channels and an opportunity given to people to choose what they want to watch and pay for it.

Another alternative would be to use the pay per view model where subscribers pay for only those programs that they watch instead of flat billing. This would be similar to the way that Internet companies charge for their data – per megabyte. DStv does indeed have this pricing model which they use on their Box Office and DStv on Demand products. At the moment however the services are restricted to South Africa as the rest of us are left to wallow and long for the day that this service will be availed to us. People would for example only pay for the games their team is playing in and ignore the rest of the games.

I think DStv pay per channel would be a popular package if only Multi Choice would consider introducing it.

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66 thoughts on “DSTV’s unfair pricing model

  1. Interesting, same logic should work for newspapers: Just buy the sports pages and leave the rest of the paper? It does not work that way!

  2. l have always found it weird that you are forced to pay for what you do not wish to view. For me, the movies, the nigerian and most of the other channels on DSTV range from trash to filler material, of no real value to me.

    Personally if l could pick and choose, l would opt for the news, sports and documentary channels. Maybe it may seem extreme but as a person living in an one person household these suit me perfectly.

    l just do not know why DSTV does not streamline their products to cater for people such as myself, l would no doubt pay than take the free SABC option if l could find something which is custom designed for me or which allows me to tweak it to my tastes.

    To think the US and other markets have had something called pay per view for decades, ll think if DSTV were extend this to mean, pay only for the channels you actually watch or better yet for the actual time you use the decoder to watch something, then that would be real value.

    Sadly this is most likely just a fantasy, l do not see them pursuing this option as it may affect them financially. Who in their right mind would give up a known amount of income for an uncertain amount, which pay per view poses? Unless maybe the premium justifies it.

    Anyway those are just my thoughts on the matter.

  3. ln an ideal world even DSTV would be irrelevant. Take for example myself, presently somewhere in the wilderness. Due to the fact that l can access reasonably priced net at about Rand 150 uncapped each month and faster if you are willing to part with more, l can pretty watch anything l want and for no fee.

    Well l will not debate the legality or otherwise of ‘free streaming’ websites, which an IT friend warned me are also prone to viruses.

    Anyway, all l know is l can watch the cricket, the rugby,NBA and just about any sport l want live and for free. l must admit though sometimes it freezes or the sound is not so good or there is even a lag, which l have noticed when comparing with the tv. But as this is a free service, l can live with it.

    Coming to documentaries, this is a bit of a challenge, l have tried NatGeo and History etc but sometimes you get a few episodes for free or previews but the rest sadly, one has to pay for them,. The reason could also be lack of effort, l use the web strictly for sports.

    So this may be a real alternative, assuming power is available and stable and that bandwidth charges do come down considerably.

    l always chuckle to myself when l am watching rugby or cricket and l see the supersport logo and realise l am watching for free! lt really makes my day.

    Anyway just thought to share this. My final comment is if you give it enough time and effort, l am pretty sure you can watch anything in real time or slightly delayed if you do not mind. As a non- series following person or movie watching person l am not in the know. But from friends l have seen and heard them say they can download the whole season, week’s overnight or in a matter of hours.

    So for me if you have the bandwidth and invest in scouring the net for free channels, streaming channels or sites where you can download, l am 99.999% sure you can get everything you want!

    Just a thought!

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