Programme repeats is an issue that goes beyond DStv and MultiChoice


DStvMobile General Manager Felix Kyengo (left) and MultiChoice Kenya General Manager Stephen Isaboke display the DSTV Mobile Drifta.

An open letter is currently doing the rounds online and accusing pay TV service provider DStv of repeating movies and documentaries much to the chagrin of most subscribers.

However, a quick look at DStv’s FAQs page reveals that the issue of repeat programmes is one that MultiChoice, which has the bulk of payTVsubscribers in sub-Saharan Africa, has had to constantly and regularly grapple with, both from within and outside the country.

The DStv FAQs page clarifies the need for repeats as follows:

“We receive many queries from customers about repeat programming on the DStv platform. Here is some information regarding repeats and why they are necessary.

2) Pay-TV business model requires repeats: Internationally multi-channel platforms like DStv offer channels that have to include a mix of new and repeat programmes to make it affordable with the added benefit of creating catch-up viewing opportunities.

3) DStv repeat rate lower than average: A single channel requires 8760 hours of content per year. DStv’s repeat rate is lower than in most countries around the world. The movie repeat rate is for example up to 60 per cent lower than similar digital television platforms abroad like SKY and DirecTV. (Source: Comsys). 

5) Different channels have different repeat patterns: Repeat scheduling on each channel varies as channels have different format models and programmes have different ratings. A 24 hour channel like M-Net schedules every hour and block channels like The History Channel schedule 4 hour blocks which repeat within 24 hours of it premiering.”

The clarifications made above by DStv indicate that the firm is aware of the issue and is not blind to client concerns. A quick reading of the thread further reveals that the issue of programme repeats goes beyond DStv and is a bigger challenge for even the service provider itself.