DStv’s plan to take on Netflix and Disney+ in South Africa

Multichoice chief executive Calvo Mawela says he is not ‘nervous’ about Netflix and the entrance of Disney+ and other international players in South Africa’s television market, with the group planning its own unique offerings to go toe-toe with these services.

Multichoice owns DStv, which offers both dish-satellite and streaming options focusing on more traditional television content, including news and live sports. It also owns Showmax, which is a streaming-only service.

Speaking to CNN, Mawela said that Multichoice had built a strong base of its own content – including live events – which the other major players cannot currently offer. This type of content remains popular in South Africa and across the African continent, he said.

“I would not use the word ‘nervous’. We recognise them, and we know that they are competitors in the market, and we need to take note of their activities in the market like all other competitors that we are competing with across the continent.”

“The competition will happen, but we will see some overlap between the services. Of the content we have pursued ourselves, we are the best in sport and the home of local content in local languages. No matter how fluent people are, they still want to hear the languages that they are able to speak on a day-to-day basis. That’s where we are able to position ourselves.”

Mawela added that Multichoice expects to see continued subscriber growth on both its linear TV platforms and online services. However, he said the group is also working on new technologies to serve the African market specifically.

“We are very deliberate in focusing on technology-driven businesses that are going to address the everyday needs of Africans on the continent. We think that with this strategy, we should be able to see great returns for the business going into the future.”

With Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Britbox and other streaming services already available in South Africa, DStv’s next big competitor is likely to be the Disney+ streaming service which will launch in South Africa in 2022.

A spokesperson for Disney confirmed to BusinessTech that the service will launch in South Africa in the southern hemisphere in winter 2022. Further information, including pricing, will be confirmed closer to launch.

Read: Warning over dramatic TV shift in South Africa

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DStv’s plan to take on Netflix and Disney+ in South Africa