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Can online streaming take on Multichoice’s monopoly?

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mchoiceWhen it comes to viewing content the Zimbabwean consumer does not have a lot of options. With the closure of options like 1st TV, GOtv and FTA decoders  it’s either you are subscribing to Multichoice (legally or illegally), resorting to ZBC’s two channels or dealing in illegal DVDs through a network of distributors like the “Jack Sparrows” of this world.

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All of this leaves Multichoice in a comfortable position as the most convenient (albeit somewhat pricey) alternative available. The South African landscape, where we take our cues from is shaped in a similar way.

Even though South Africa is a more “open” market with online streaming being well established there, Multichoice still looks like a monopoly. This was also mentioned by their communications minister who recently called Multichoice a “bullying monopoly” in an interview with an online journal.

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In an interview with Techcentral, CEO of Multichoice South Africa, Imitiaz Patel, acknowledged the advantage that they possess and identified online streaming video providers such as Netflix, Apple and Google as their real threat.

This is a huge but rather outdated endorsement for online streaming video services as the next big thing for entertainment. The wide options for content and ease of use make online streaming the most comprehensive alternative to a subscription model like Multichoice. What needs to be figured out is how this sort of service can be made available to local users.

In Zimbabwe Netflix  services are not available. Any attempts at online streaming from Netflix would require you to go round the existing barriers using services such as unblock-us.com. Google Play Movies is available locally, but that still leaves you without access to Hollywood series that you have been accustomed to.

Popcorn Time, a free online streaming service for movies made a huge impression last week with it’s shutdown and eventual resurrection. The fact that it is free and open to anyone with the right internet speed makes it a great option as well. Since it only offers movies however, it is not a complete option.

While the huge opportunity has been identified for this new medium will there be any initiative from Zimbabwe that offers a good mix of both local and international content? Attempts to provide our market with local options have been made by online video services such as Jam TV, NafunaTV and Wabona.

Though these attempts have been commendable what seems to be lacking is diversity of content that can lead to an adoption of what these guys are offering as the new alternative. This is, after all, a market that has been exposed to Hollywood programming for a very long time. There is also a demand for sports entertainment, music, news and informative programs from beyond the African continent.

While content is a very important issue for online streaming another hurdle for its adoption lies with the availability of fast and affordable internet. Although the price of broadband being offered by local ISPs has fallen, it might prove to be out of the reach of the ordinary Zimbabwean.

Whatever the case, online streaming should be looked at closely by anyone keen on establishing themselves as a serious competitor in providing entertainment.


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11 thoughts on “Can online streaming take on Multichoice’s monopoly?

  1. Online streaming needs serious internet speeds. The likes of ZOL and africom are no match. For zimbabwe we are still years away to enjoy streaming content. I tried to was a Mag 250 IPTV box to watch UK tv in zim. The result was disaster. This was with ZOL business plan. With upto 10MB of data per minute needed to watch HD channels and minimum of 2Mbps, this idea is a pipe dream for zimbos. However, enterprising people might want to start streaming DSTV content to those in Europe or Americas

      1. Please PM me. I am hunting for a new provider. I would really appreciate some help from actual users.

      2. Who is this internet provider with a cheap and better connection? Knowing alone is nice for you, but sharing, good for all 😉

    1. try watch-tvseries.net or projectfreetv.net combined with IDM, you can watch and download all the current series to your hearts content in 240p to 720p quality..

    2. I have a 2MB line but happily stream Netflix/Hulu in SD and can get HD after the witching hour. 4MB is minimum i hear to stream HD but then again depends on your taste. But with the high costs of internet in Zim, I fear this service is far form being widely used an MC will still reign in airing TV and the pirates will keep striking on the streets.

  2. Watch this space very soon you will be hearing all about it. give it a month IPTV is here yes here in Zimbabwe.

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