The hate for DStv poured in again this week after MultiChoice announced a price increase for its satellite pay TV platform, set to kick in on 1 April 2015.
Detractors argue that DStv is simply too expensive, with premium subscribers having to fork out R699 per month for the service from April, up from the current R665 per month.
However, I would argue that it is worth every cent for one single reason: Supersport, which arguably offers the most extensive coverage of live global sport anywhere in the world.
Earlier this week, SuperSport announced that it will be the only broadcaster in the world to air all 10 English Premiership matches on Tuesday and Wednesday (3/4 March). This is not a one off. Not even the UK’s domestic pay TV broadcasters show all premiership games on a weekly basis, which Supersport does.
In February, UK broadcasting giants Sky and BT Sport paid £5.136 billion for live Premier League TV rights for three seasons from 2016-17. This was up 70% from the prior deal between the companies.
Under the new contract, 168 games would be shown live, at an average cost to the broadcasters of £10.2 million per match. Multichoice’s price to secure all premiership games live would be considerable.
And this is just one sporting competition. Add to that live Superrugby, the Rugby Championships, the Rugby World Cup and Cricket World Cup in 2015, which also come at a significant price.
Significant rights also include the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League football; the Winter and Summer Olympic Games; Formula One motor racing; tennis; the Indian Premier League cricket (IPL); golf; and more recently big US sports like the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Football League (NFL), which comes with the Superbowl.
On the African continent, SuperSport remains the biggest funder of sport, investing in local leagues at all levels, “by paying broadcast licence fees, upskilling local administrators and production crews, improving facilities and assisting federations to obtain sponsors”.
“Nigeria, Ghana and Angola football leagues, as well as Angola basketball, were either acquired or renewed on all platforms and in all languages throughout our broadcast territories,” Supersport has said.
It has been reported that US viewers will have to pay as much as $99.95 to watch the ‘fight of the century’ between Floyd Mayweather Jnr and Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on May 2 in HD. That translates to R1,174, and yet the fight should come as part of your monthly package on Supersport.
There can’t be much complaint with Supersport’s broadcast quality either. To be able to get up at 5am on a Tuesday morning and watch a panel of experts and additional crew covering the cricket in New Zealand and Australia since the early hours, is often taken for granted.
In August last year, MyBroadband provided a comparison of TV operators from different countries – and while a new online campaign has launched taking aim at DStv repeats, the same cannot be said for Supersport’s flow of live content, and subsequent highlights packages.
(Multichoice has offered up its reasons for repeats, on its website.)
Over and above all the sports content, DStv offers more than 130 additional channels to include the latest movies, series, documentaries, news and various other genres. These channels are a mere bonus, in my view.
DStv’s offering packs a punch when compared to Sky in the UK, which costs £46 a month (R831) for 35 entertainment channels and 7 Sky Sports channels.
Arguments can (and will) be made about Multichoice’s monopoly on sports content – and slowly but surely competition is entering the market from VOD players – but the fact remains that Supersport’s content is unparalleled, globally.
Supersport is the jewel in Multichoice’s crown and is therefore worth R699 as a stand-alone service.