Multichoice which owns pay television service DSTV must be in panic mode, after hearing the confirmation that the American multinational provider of on-demand Internet streaming media is about to set foot in Africa. Netflix Africa will soon be launched starting with South Africa’s in 2016. By August, Multichoice’s parent firm Naspers had responded with the launch of its own online video on demand service called DSTV Now, to rival Netflix. For years now, it looks like DSTV has held Africa at ransom, but we believe with Netflix Africa, that is about to change.
Netflix is currently available to viewers in all of North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and parts of Europe, with over 26 million subscribers worldwide, 23 of which are US only subscriptions. With the rate at which people in Africa are embracing the internet today, we shall see most online geographically restricted services expand to Africa as well. When Netflix Africa launches next year, we shall see several DSTV subscribers who are not on the service for sport moving over to the new on-demand TV service. This will mean that Netflix will pull off its originals from airing on DSTV.
While some subscribers call for subscription prices to be slashed, others ask to pay only for what they use. People almost never watch television shows when they are broadcast anymore. This means television consumer behavior is expected to change in 2016, tending towards on-demand services. But since there were no worthwhile competitors, Africans have continued to subscribe to DSTV.
Some Africans have even devised means of circumventing Netflix’s geographic restriction to get access to the service from the continent, this can only mean that they find the content appealing and they are ready to pay the current subscription fees charged anywhere else by Netflix. According to Mybroadband, Netflix Africa will launch in South Africa next month.
Streaming is a Data Hog
All is not rosy in the Netflix camp, as all streaming services require a reliable and stable internet connection with at least 2 Mbps speeds required per consumer for proper streaming. With several launches of 4G-LTE networks in Africa, we expect the issue of quality to be addressed. But, this means you will be paying twice– first, for the internet to your ISP and for Netflix and it is for this reason alone, DSTV will still thrive over Netflix in Africa.
So, how can Netflix survive in Africa? According to The NerveAfrica, lower data costs and changing consumer behaviour will be the driving force for on-demand TV, DSTV and other pay television service providers alike, will struggle. Without sports like English Premier League and local African content (read as Nigerian Movies), DSTV is expected to feel the pinch in the future. The arrival of Netflix and increased adoption of other Video on Demand services on the continent may not hit DSTV just yet. DSTV and other pay TV services may have to drop subscription cost and allow users pay less for more if they want to retain them. Given that Netflix is only launching in only one country in Africa doesn’t mean it will also be an instant hit at launch.