In June, Multichoice announced that they had reached agreements with Netflix and Amazon Prime to offer a bundled service. Strangely, when DStv announced two new sets of decoders that will offer streaming capabilities, not a word was said about Netflix or Prime. Why was that the case?
Well, it’s simple really – SA’s Competition Commission is actually investigating Multichoice’s deal with both video streaming services. Whilst the Commission didn’t share any details regarding the nature of their investigation.
If one had to guess though, the investigation probably looks at whether Multichoice bundling with Netflix and Amazon can be considered anti-competitive.
MultiChoice already owns two of the most popular local streaming services in South Africa (Showmax and DStv Now). Adding Netflix and Amazon Prime might be viewed as anti-competitive by the Commission.
MultiChoice’s CEO said adding Netflix and Amazon is a natural practice for DStv because they have always been that aggregator;
We have always seen ourselves as a one-stop-shop where you can get content from all content producers in Africa and around the worldCalvo Mawela
As a consumer, my view is being able to get Netflix, Prime Video and DStv under one umbrella for cheaper sounds like a win in the short term at least. The anti-competitive argument is one that is hard to make because already DStv doesn’t have much in the way of competitors when it comes to satellite. Maybe the thinking by the Competition Commission is that this move will also then cement Multichoice’s content monopoly on the new frontier that is streaming.