In June 2020, I wrote, “The weakest link in MultiChoice’s DStv business is defending itself from Netflix. Netflix was picking some of its best customers in South Africa. Also, because Netflix was not under the high voltage searchlight DStv was subjected as a local operating company, by regulators, the cost was not optimized to compete against the global juggernaut which does not need to open many African locations to do business in the continent. No matter how you look at it, DStv was going to struggle for years to manage the problems from Netflix.” Then, magically, there was a truce and Netflix chose DStv as a distributor. That was wisdom as Disney+ and Amazon Prime were coming after it; the distraction in Africa was not evidently necessary.
On the same day, I wrote another piece, noting, “By 2022, I expect Disney+ and Apple to also arrive on DStv. It is a natural trajectory: supply while great does not matter that much in fragmented markets in Africa when there is a dominant player with demand. DStv has been around for decades, and catching up with it would take years. But working with DStv, these American firms can move into revenue accelerations since the presence of Netflix and Amazon will strengthen DStv brand.”
Today, I report that MutiChoice, owner of DStv and GOtv, has signed partnership with Walt Disney to bring ESPN into its decoders.
MultiChoice Group (MCG) and The Walt Disney Company Africa today announced that they have signed an exciting partnership, which will see a significant addition to the sports available to its customers across the continent. The agreement will result in two 24-hour ESPN channels being made available to DStv customers from 29 July, where they will be able to enjoy the very best of US sports.
Featuring every major US sport as well as European football, fans across the continent can now look forward to popular premier American leagues including the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL)and Major League Baseball (MLB), via ESPN & ESPN2. The channels will also feature live football from the English Football League (EFL), Scottish Premier Football League (SPFL), Dutch Eredivisie and Major League Soccer (MLS), as well as local sports including the West African Football Union (WAFU) Cup of Nations and featured boxing tournaments and events.
That brings that unification to another level. In this business, supply is not absolutely the king, the person with demand has a great positioning. DStv has demand and will use it to milk much from these players before the cost of data drops to the extent that most Africans will go direct to streaming. As it stands, only the very “rich” can afford streaming since it has two elements of costs: the subscription and broadband data. The PayTV option remains fairly cheaper for most families in the continent.