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Kwese, Netflix nightmare for DStv

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Africa’s top pay TV services provider Multi-Choice is reeling from cutthroat competition from new entrants in 48 African markets that have given the once dominant broadcaster a run for its money, a stark contrast to the situation a decade ago.

According to Entertainment and media outlook: 2018 – 2022, a report compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers Kenya, MultiChoice has had to regroup following the entry new networks including Kwese TV also a pay TV channel and Star Times who are offering slightly lower monthly subscription packages.

“Though relatively nascent for now, the inevitable growth of new media means that traditional TV service providers will have to adopt new models to deliver TV content to their customers in order to counter the increased competition,” reads the report.

MultiChoice which owns DStv is also feeling the heat from international competitors including American Video on Demand Platforms (VOD) Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

So much is the competition from the new entrants that Multichoice CEO Calvo Mawela in an interview with South African newspaper Business Day on July 12 called for tougher regulation of Netflix which it blames for eating into its own VOD platform DStv Now subscriptions having lost 100,000 subscribers in the last year and a significant chunk of subscribers in the last half decade.

“I am saying bring the likes of Netflix in the same net. Netflix does not employ even one person in this country (South Africa), it doesn’t pay tax, they do not have to do any local content. If we are to compete with them, Netflix must also be subject to the same regulations as Multi Choice.” said Mawela.

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Locally, Multi Choice has had to contend with the emergence of Kwese TV which has tapped the entertainment and sports markets with introduction of Kwese Free Sports and cheaper bouquets for its entertainment content.

For instance, Kwese Free Sports had the rights to host 32 matches of the world cup which it then sold to local broadcaster NTV meaning that viewers had fewer reasons to subscribe to DsTV Premium which boasts of Supersport 3 which had rights to broadcast all the 64 matches at the tournament. The cost of subscribing to DsTV Premium is Ksh 7,900.

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