DSTV South Africa Versus Netflix: DSTV Adds More Users In 2018 Despite Netflix, That’s Probably Going To Change Though

Garikai Dzoma Avatar

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.


  1. TheKing

    “…South Africa (a BRICS country) is the closest thing to developed in Africa…”, Mauritius is poised to become the 1st developed country in Africa.

  2. Anonymous

    @TheKing Yes…“…South Africa (a BRICS country) is the closest thing to developed in Africa…” in terms of its size because South Africa is about 598 times bigger than Mauritius.

  3. Anonymous

    Not once is the predicted fall of Netlix mentioned. Both Disney ( who own lots of content including Marvel, Star Wars and all its series, animation and film) and WarnerMedia are pulling all their media off Netflix as they are starting their own streaming services. The amount of content being pulled could be close to half Netflix’s conent, and that would cause a lot of people to cancel their membership. Luckily Netflix produces original content but their definitely will be a decline of new users joining. Netflix apparently paid $100 million to keep the show Friends on their network and things are only going get tougher for Netflix……

    1. Garikai Dzoma

      Netflix is not going to fall period. That’s not worth mentioning it’s a fact. It’s like saying Spotify will fall because of tidal

      1. TheKing

        You may have missed the point. He is saying numbers are going to drop if big name companies keep pulling their content off Netflix just like Tidal felt the jolt when Kanye pulled off his music. Remember, this is a content game.

        1. Garikai Dzoma

          I understand what he is saying but I am emphasising the point that the success of Disney’s new streaming platform and it’s effect on Netflix’s numbers would just as muted as what happened when Tidal was opened. Disney are not the only network to try this although they’re probably the largest. A lot of people thought Hulu was going to undercut Netflix when the former acquired rights to most aired shows after Netflix dropped them. Nothing of the sort happened. Netflix will remain the go to streaming platform especially given the fact that Disney do not own a lot of their own international content rights anyway. There will be a slight impact on figures but it will far less than what people are preaching

  4. BaDali

    “have decently priced internet packages”

    I wish you had given us some price comparisons here. A friend of mine once said the same a few years ago and we compared a few and found out that Zim packages were cheaper.

    1. Garikai Dzoma

      I will try to do a comparison but I am certain that SA packages are cheaper. Not only that on average SA citizens earn more so that makes the packages even cheaper

  5. KZ

    Dstv needs to stop charging $10 for PVR access that’s just ripping people off.

    It’s sad because it adds a whole new layer to entertainment, but a whole 10 US is a Netflix subscription.

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