Choosing your own channels to watch on DStv will put an even bigger dent in your monthly budget.
Why can’t pensioners who cannot afford a Premium DStv package get rugby and cricket? I’m missing my favourite player Siya Kolisi in action for The Stormers and Boks – JONATHAN, VIA SMS “Costs to acquire and broadcast live sports are expensive, specifically premium sports such as rugby and cricket,” says Marietjie Groenewald, head of MultiChoice Corporate Communication. “SuperSport not only needs to acquire the rights for broadcast, but also has to send outside broadcast units to film the games.”
M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle touched a nerve in 2016 when she mentioned “channel unbundling” for the DStv bouquet and that got many of the 6 million subscribers asking – again – why they can’t choose their own channels on the bouquet. It’s not that simple though, as we found out from Mark Rayner, the CEO of MultiChoice South Africa. “Most people have the impression that if they just sign up for three or four channels, it’ll be cheaper. But the reality is different.”
The cost of each channel provided by DStv is different and Mark says that “if high- cost channels were spread over just a few subscribers, it would make it more expensive for them. They might end up paying in excess of R1 500 per month for only a couple of channels they want, where the premium DStv bouquet is R789 per month”. “Luckily” that’s not going to happen because channel unbundling “isn’t on the cards right now”, adds Mark.
NOT QUITE MATHEMATICS
And it’s also not as simple as saying there are 100 channels, so that’s R7.89 per channel for the premium subscription rate of R789. “That’s not the case at all,” explains Mark. “Consider this – our analogue customers, who only get M-Net and one sports channel, pay R369 per month. That gives you perspective on how expensive some of the premium channels are.”
PAY FOR GOODS
The most popular channels are the ones that give viewers the most sought-after and exclusive content, like Game Of Thrones (2011- current) – and they’re the most expensive ones too. “The M-Net channels, where we buy high quality Hollywood movies, premium content and sports rights, are insanely expensive. We’re talking millions and especially now with the weak Rand versus international currencies,” Mark explains. “People will have to fork out much more than they can afford when choosing their own channels because the costs vary so much.”
However, DStv tries to ensure that its subscribers feel that they are getting the most value for their money. “We have to make sure that people get the highest quality of entertainment for the money they spend on their monthly subscription. We constantly monitor viewer feedback to make sure we deliver the right goods, to the right people, at the right price,” says Mark.
FEWER CHANNELS, SAME COST
Subscribers have also argued that they should pay less when DStv closes channels, like M-Net Edge, Family and Movies Showcase in April. “They might think they’re being robbed, but we are just spreading the content over fewer channels. They still get the goods, just on a different channel,” reasons Mark, teasing that “there might be a couple of new channels on the way in 2017”.
Rugby star Siya Kolisi.
Premium series like Game of Thrones aren’t cheap and are part of the reason unbundling is unlikely to happen. MultiChoice SA CEO Mark Rayner.