MultiChoice subscribers to access Netflix and Amazon content, starting in South Africa

MultiChoice Group’s subscribers could soon be able to stream content from other Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime following a recent deal between the South Africa-based payTV services provider.

At the beginning and as a pilot, MultiChoice subscribers from South Africa will be the first to stream content from Netflix and Amazon Prime before customers from other parts of the continent (what the Group refers to as the Rest of Africa or RoA) be able to access the same.

(TOP: The Showmax logo, the SVoD platform set up by MultiChoice in 2015).

In a statement released while releasing its financial results for the 2020 financial year, MultiChoice Group noted that in addition to local stories, the best of sport and international content, it “will now be integrating third party streaming services onto its DStv platform.

“The recently signed distribution agreements with two major international Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) providers will ensure that customers have access to a wider variety of content, all in a single place… We have long been a content aggregator, and this is proof of our aggregator model at work – providing simplicity, choice and convenience for our customers,” Calvo Mawela, the Group CEO said. “As our industry evolves, we believe that we are well positioned to benefit from both worlds – a large, growing pay-TV market in Africa, as well as an emerging over-the-top (OTT) opportunity, where our own OTT services and aggregation capabilities can drive success.”

While releasing its financials, the group further said it will be looking to continue scaling its video entertainment services across the continent, focusing on the mass-market for pay-TV services, as well as on OTT. In addition, it plans to further increase its investment in local content and adjust its cost base to deliver acceptable returns.

“We remain well positioned with a sought-after product offering, significant scale, a diversified footprint across the African continent and a robust business model with a low reliance on advertising revenue. Importantly, we have hedging programmes in place to offset some of the currency pressures we’re exposed to and a healthy balance sheet, which includes R9.1 billion in cash. These organisational strengths provide us with confidence that we can withstand the impending macro-challenges and demands and continue to enrich lives through our video entertainment services,” Mawela concludes.

Details of how the group intends to integrate Netflix and Amazon Prime onto its platform are still unclear, more so due to the fact that MultiChoice also has its own SVoD service, Showmax.

Asked for further details about the group’s SVoD strategy going forward in the face of the recent deals it’s inked with other platforms, the firm said these would be made clear in the coming weeks. “Whilst we are excited about the recently signed partnership agreements with two major Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) players, Multichoice Group will be making an official announcement that will provide more detail in the coming weeks,” stated MultiChoice.

In an interview with MyBroadband during the release of the results, Tim Jacobs, MultiChoice’s CFO, said: “We have signed distribution agreements with two major international subscription video-on-demand services. Unfortunately, we are in a pre-release embargo period with both of these international players, which means that other than announcing that we have these two distribution deals, we can’t talk about the specifics until the formal consumer release,” Jacobs said.

On Showmax, Jacobs said: “Each of the different service providers has very specific content that sits on their platform, and Showmax content typically doesn’t overlap that much with these other content providers… So what we are trying to is to provide an amount of simplicity, choice, and convenience to subscribers – they can come to one place and can get access to all of this different content.”

Jacobs added that the “large international streaming platforms” are attracted to a partnership with MultiChoice and DStv because of the company’s 19.5 million subscribers.


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