Entertainment firm MultiChoice is known for its many products, including DStv and Showmax.
DStv is used widely across the continent, and for good reason. It airs live sports, and based on your package, you can watch as many games as you want. The product airs its programs via a satellite signal, meaning it doesn’t need an internet connection to work (although there are other products associated with DStv that work using the internet), and is therefore one of the most products of its kind in Africa for that very reason.
Now, the company has announced that in three weeks (March 22, 2022), its customers will only be able to view content via DStv on one screen only.
This, as expected, is a controversial move that has made a lot of people angry if social media rants are anything to go by.
People spend a lot of money to renew their DStv subscriptions and have always faulted the service for its high price compared to the competition (in essence, DStv doesn’t have any competition in Africa, making is a monopoly-adjacent).
So, besides paying a premium for a subscription, customers will only view content on one screen, and nothing more.
And what is the reason for this development? Well, the company is trying to axe password sharing, and cases of piracy.
To note, people share passwords, and that’s fine by them but companies hate that because it cuts their revenues. A
DStv is also one of the many products that have received a fair share of piracy. There are illegal businesses that sell DStv passwords for customers who are willing to pay. Such businesses have made a killing from the vice, and while MultiChoice has attempted to nab them in the past, they still exist.
To this end, the move means that such businesses will likely close shop.
And those who genuinely pay for the service will be forced to not even use two screens in their houses.
[A local context is the case when Safaricom Home introduced speed caps to rid itself of Fibre retailers. Customers were angry, and it would appear that people have actually forgotten about it, however the insanity of the decision altogether].
Other than DStv, MultiChoice has been getting away with a lot of controversial decisions for a long time, this time around for Showmax.
The video on demand platform rivals Netflix, and actually has a lot of good content.
However, since it was launched, it has been supporting two screens only.
Take for example the case of Showmax Pro, which costs KES 2100. That is a lot of money for the service – and yes, I know, it has games and live channels – but limiting streams to two screens doesn’t make sense when the likes of Netflix supports 4 screens, and is hundreds of shillings cheaper.
To add salt to injury, Showmax content is only limited to 720p, whereas the competition airs TV shows and films up to 4K, some of which are HDR-supported.
We are not sure what is happening at MultiChoice, but some of its decisions are outrightly greedy, and for such a huge organization, it can do better.
A section of the new terms and conditions
Why are you making this change?
It’s one of many ongoing measures to counteract password sharing and piracy.
Does this change apply to all DStv subscriptions?
Yes, the change will made to all DStv subscriptions across Africa, however, only customers making use of more than one concurrent stream will be directly affected by the change.
Does this impact the number of devices I have registered or offline viewing of content I’ve downloaded?
No, customers are allowed 4 registered devices for streaming and still have the option to download DStv content on selected devices for offline viewing as a way to allow for more than one family member to enjoy DStv at the same time.
How does this impact customers with more than one decoder linked in XtraView?
There is no change to viewing DStv on decoders – customers can continue to enjoy viewing DStv on up to 3 decoders linked to the same subscription in XtraView.
Does this mean only one person can be logged in at a time?
No, we will not limit the number of people using a login, however, we are limiting (to one) the number of people who can stream at the same time.
Is there any change to pricing because of this change?
Will this impact Showmax customers?
No, this change only applies when streaming DStv.