DStv plans to go “dishless” as it introduces streaming product come 2020

Interesting times are in the offing for users of DStv across Africa because MultiChoice, which provides the service, is all set to introduce what is being referred to as a standalone ‘dishless’ streaming product.

Nicholas Ekdahl, who serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the South African company, told TechCentral, late last week, that MultiChoice has gone a long way to develop the new product. When it becomes available in the market come early 2020 as expected, consumers would simply need their broadband connections instead of a dish.

What we know: Nairametrics understands that MultiChoice had previously hoped to launch the streaming service before the end of this year. However, due to certain reasons, this has been delayed. In the meantime, the product has mostly been tested internally in preparation for its eventual release.

“We still want to do proper user testing in a real live environment, but the chances of launching by the end of March are pretty good.”

A quick overview: The DStv brand is widely used across Africa, including Nigeria, where it is the pay Tv of choice for millions of subscribers. MultiChoice has also done a lot to improve the quality of its products and services over the years. As Ekdahl claimed, much effort has always been put towards improving user experience. But this hasn’t stopped customers from occasionally expressing their dissatisfaction.

The occasional dissatisfaction notwithstanding, the company is now set for a new phase of its operations. As the CEO best put it, “we are now in a favourable position to launch dishless”.  

What this means: Note that going ‘dishless’ would mean a major paradigm shift for MultiChoice which came into operation some 24 years ago as a satellite direct-to-home pay-tv provider. It would also mean that the company is better positioned to compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu which currently dominate the global streaming space.

“We can grow in both — there is a dual-growth opportunity. The risk of cannibalisation will always be there, but if that’s going to happen, we’d rather risk doing it to ourselves than someone else doing it to us.”

In the meantime, it is unclear whether the new standalone ‘dishless’ product will have a different name and different branding. The CEO reportedly declined to comment on this when he was asked to further clarify. He did say, however, that DStv Now will continue to be available for dish owners.

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