Multichoice says that it will freeze the price of its DStv Premium packages for 2019 – while other bouquets will get a “minimal” price hike – below inflation.
“We understand that times are tough in South Africa, and that our customers are under pressure to make every cent they spend count. As such, we’re keeping DStv as affordable and accessible as possible to as many households as we can, to ensure they can enjoy great entertainment for their families,” a spokesperson said.
The price hikes will come into effect from 1 April 2019.
Currently, DStv Premium costs R809 per month, excluding the complementary Access Fee of R90.
DStv Compact Plus and DStv Compact currently cost R509 and R385 per month respectively, while DStv Family, DStv Access, and DStv EasyView cost R249, R99, and R29 per month respectively.
Consumer inflation is currently around 5%.
The group noted that in the past year, it absorbed the once percentage point VAT increase on behalf of its customers, despite increased content costs and foreign exchange effects, due to the rand weakening.
In a survey run by MyBroadband at the end of 2018 which drew over 7,000 responses, almost three quarters of DStv subscribers said they would cancel their subscriptions if DStv prices increased in 2019.
While Multichoice and DStv hold a near-monopoly in the South African Pay-TV market, the group has come under pressure with subscriber growth tapering off.
In FY 2018 the group reported 13.9 million subscribers across the group – 6.6 million of which are in South Africa.
The group has faced most of its pressure from video-on-demand streaming services like Netflix, which is estimated to have as many as 400,000 subscribers in the country.
Multichoice’s Netflix rival, Showmax and DStv Now reportedly have around 600,000 subscribers, though that is including customers who are subscribed to DStv Premium and get the services as part of the package.
Multichoice is currently preparing to list on the JSE, with a listing date set for 27 February 2019.