So there is this myth that DSTV and Netflix are like Tom and Jerry. Always trying to do each other in with DSTV as the nimble and cunning Jerry using its willy guile in the form of exclusive deals such as their all important EPL deal to trip up anyone who may want to steal their market share.
The story goes on to say that the reason why Netflix is not yet able to make inroads in Africa as it has done in the development world is because our internet kind of sucks. If we had great internet like they have in the UK and the US all millennials would flock to the streaming platform and start binge watching things.
Well South Africa (a BRICS country) is the closest thing to developed in Africa that we have and they have decently priced internet packages that allow them to have Netflix at prices cheaper than the DSTV premium bouquet. Initial data seemed to show that DSTV was losing premium subscribers to Netflix. In the first quarter of 2018 subscribers dumped DSTV premium in their hundreds of thousands according to data published by MyBroadBand.
The number of DSTV subscribers actually grew in 2018
According to data published late last year by Naspers, the DSTV guys, the total number of DSTV subscribers in Africa had actually grown by 14% to reach just under 14 million when compared to the year before. 7.2 million of these came from South Africa, a number that increased by almost 300 000 subscribers. These figures were back in September of 2018 and I would expect DSTV added even more numbers in the last two quarters as these are traditionally the two quarters when consumers spend more.
It’s not all good news though as Netflix is definitely having an impact on DSTV’s business. Despite an increase in subscribers there was a fall in average revenue per user (ARPU) in the South African market. It would appear that people are moving from the Premium bouquet to the cheaper ones just so they can watch sports on DSTV and binge watch on their favourite shows on Netflix at the same time. That way they can have the best of both worlds and that is understandable.
DSTV’s exclusive rights are saving them for now but that’s not going to last
It would appear that the DSTV fort is holding off the streaming siege for now thanks to their igneous moats of exclusive content but that is about to change. The South African Broadcasting Authorities, ICASA, are drafting amendments that will break DSTV’s sports monopoly in South Africa.
In fact similar legislation is being considered by other countries who are miffed by the fact that rights holders and DSTV enter into these exclusive deals covering their countries without consulting them resulting in DSTV being in essence a monopoly operating over their territory.
DSTV will be fine for a long time though
As we said in our opening fast internet remains a problem for most would be streaming subscribers. Before you consider streaming you need at least a 5 mbps unmetered connection and that’s not something a lot of people on the African continent have. In fact due to fair usage policies and throttling you will probably need something like ten times as fast.
With DSTV all you need is a decoder and a dish. No throttling nonsense and you only have to pay a fixed fee. The downside is you lose a bit of control on what you want to watch but you can mitigate this using tech like PVR. In fact a good internet connection will allow you to access catch up and Showmax. So DSTV is probably going to be fine for a long time to come.