In a bid to increase their streaming numbers, South African satellite TV service DStv, owned by MultiChoice, has launched packages which will bundle DStv streaming bouquets and unlimited fibre internet at discounted prices.

The packages, which will be offered to streaming subscribers only, combine either a DStv Compact or Premium subscription, DStv Streama streaming box, and a 25/10Mbps fibre connection and will be costed at R699 (~$39) for the Compact package and R999 (~$56) for the Premium package. The packages will be offered in partnership with unnamed fibre network operators.

Just two weeks ago at its annual media showcase event, MultiChoice also announced price slashes on its stand-alone streaming service which it launched at the end of 2020.

Looking at the company’s numbers for its DSTv satellite TV service, MultiChoice’s aggressive push into streaming seems to be more out of necessity and survival than anything else.

According to Daily Investor, between 2015 and 2018, DStv Premium subscriptions declined from 2.35 million to 1.92 million and currently stand at 1.4 million in 2022. MultiChoice’s latest annual financial results also show a 6% decline in Compact and commercial packages.

Image source: Daily Investor

As DSTV’s subscribers’ numbers take a hit, this has a direct impact on its average revenue per user (ARPU) which has also been on a downward spiral, declining from R317 per month in March 2018 to R269 in March 2022 for 90-day active subscribers.

Image source: Daily Investor

Realising that customers are ditching its satellite tv offerings, MultiChoice’s latest packages seem to be an attempt to strike two birds with one stone: provide customers with fast, affordable, uncapped internet, and then bundle it with customers’ other preference being streaming products.

In theory, this seems like a foolproof strategy, but gauging its effectiveness as time goes on will be a challenge as MultiChoice does not report its streaming numbers in its financial results.

With its nine million subscribers in South Africa, DSTv’s fibre package might intensify the country’s fibre network operator wars as they jump to get DSTv subscribers to opt for their services. According to MyBroadband, MultiChoice seems to be making allowance for customers to choose between Openserve and Vumatel, the leading FNO in South Africa, for access to the recently launched packages.

As for MultiChoice, it will be hoping that this most recent bet works out because as things stand, the company is left with very limited hands to play. If streaming fails, it will be left with the option of being taken over by French pay-TV giant, Canal+, which has been buying MultiChoice ordinary shares and has since accumulated a 26% stake in the company.

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