To compete with fast growing Netflix and other streaming services, Naspers- South African media and e-commerce group plan to spin off Multichoice, Africa’s biggest pay-TV business by subscribers. In an increasingly competitive market, Netflix is already supplying thousands of viewers with original TV content and Hollywood hits such as “Stranger things” and “House of Cards”.
In response to this development, Naspers Chief Executive, Bob Van Dijk said “the intention is to basically have absolutely minimal debt going to Multichoice to provide them with flexibility to make any strategic move they want to make. We are not going to suck any cash out of Multichoice.”
Streaming services have increasingly been challenging more popular satellite TV services, even on a continent plagued with slow internet speed. Multichoice plans to compete with International streaming services like Netflix through the introduction of Showmax, its fledgling internet streaming service.
Showmax, which is a blend of Hollywood movies and local content was launched in 2016. The company hopes its unique blend will set it apart from the competition. London based digital TV research revealed that there were about 334,000 Showmax subscribers at the end of 2017. This number is lower than half of the Netflix subscribers in South Africa.
Multichoice Chief Executive, Imtiaz Patel said the company is quite confident that the combination of Multichoice’s reach, Showmax and DSTV Now- an app that allows Multichoice subscribers live stream channels on the satellite platform, will provide “a unique and unmatched offering”.