Last week DStv announced two brand new products that it will add to its decoder range — the DStv Explora Ultra and the DStv Steama. The Explora Ultra features satellite TV as well as streaming options, while the Streama functions more like a set-top box.
This is an interesting change to come to the Sout African broadcast TV market, with a company that may have been viewed as having a TV-monopoly in the past now adopting new technologies, and even partnering with third-party streaming services.
Earlier this year, Multichoice announced in its financial earnings report that it had signed deals with Netflix and Amazon to include its apps on the new devices. Now the Competition Commission is investigating the deal, so Multichoice can’t detail how these services could work.
We spoke to Mark Rayner, the CEO of Multichoice SA, to find out what a typical monthly bill of a person with one of the new decoders will look like. In this example, we’ll use Showmax as an example of a third-party streaming service, but it could apply to other streaming services.
One of the key services DStv wants to offer customers with the new devices, is the ability to pay one bill, which includes your typical DStv satellite package plus any streaming services you wish to add.
The Explora Ultra
Positioned as DStv’s premier product, the Explora Ultra is basically an Explora decoder on steroids. It’ll have all the satellite-TV capabilities of a normal Explora, but with a bunch of additional functionality.
“The minimum requirement with the Explora Ultra is that you need to be subscribed to one of the DStv products,” Rayner details. So, outside of the initial cost of purchasing the DStv Explora (which we don’t have pricing for yet), you’ll pay your monthly DStv satellite subscription, which will be the same monthly costs as it stands now.
- DStv Premium: R819
- DStv Compact Plus: R529
- DStv Compact : R399
- DStv Family: R279
- DStv Access: R110
- DStv EasyView: R29
In a bid to help future-proof its new products, the Explora Ultra will come pre-loaded with some of the best third-party streaming services available — these will be announced closer to launch. DStv will also have the ability to update the decoders remotely and upload new services directly to devices.
Let’s say you decide you’d like to add Showmax (or any other streaming service) to your monthly DStv bill. You’ll have the choice to add these, and won’t be locked into a contract, so customers can add and remove services as they choose. “In no way is a customer forced to take the other products, if they choose to, they can sign up. They can add their credit card or add it to the DStv account,” Rayner explains.
This means that the R100 charge for a monthly Showmax subscription will simply be added to your DStv bill at the end of the month. So a typical invoice would look like this (these amounts are for the example only, and may be different at launch):
+ Access Fee: R819 (Premium)
+ Box Office: Free
+ Showmax: R100
= R919 payable to DStv
This product is where DStv is changing the broadcast game in SA — because the Streama doesn’t come equipped with any satellite capability. It’s akin to any other set-top box like Apple TV or Android TV boxes, but you’ll have access to DStv’s other streaming options.
So why go for the Streama and not any other box? Rayner explains that customers would opt for DStv’s offering if they’re interested in DStv content like BoxOffice access, DStv Now streaming or Showmax. If you’re not interested in any DStv options, the Streama won’t necessarily be your first choice.
How would payments work on this one? It’ll just be a once-off charge to buy the box (again, we’ll have pricing closer to launch end of 2020). On top of that, customers can sign in to the streaming services they’d like to access and pay those monthly, either paying through DStv or directly through the services.
Rayner mentioned that the DStv Explora Ultra will launch in coming months, with the Streama following shortly after. We’ll keep you updated with any developments regarding announcements and pricing.