changes to its streaming service
DStv is facing a backlash from South Africans, including calls for a boycott, after it announced changes to its streaming service to fight password sharing and piracy.

DStv announced that from 22 March 2022, its subscribers will be limited to streaming DStv on one device at a time.

The change applies to all DStv subscriptions across Africa. “Only customers making use of more than one concurrent stream will be directly affected by the change,” it said.

DStv said it is one of the measures to counteract password sharing and piracy — a challenge for streaming providers globally.

It explained that DStv subscribers are allowed four registered devices for streaming and can still download DStv content on selected devices for offline viewing.

Downloading DStv content will allow more than one family member to watch DStv at the same time.

“We will not limit the number of people using a login. However, we are limiting the number of people who can stream at the same time to one,” DStv said.

The DStv streaming restrictions did not go down well with South Africans, who said they might cancel their subscriptions when the changes kick in.

“I’ve had DStv since 2004, but I’m going to cancel my subscription because you are only allowing one device to stream at a time,” one DStv subscriber said.

“Well, that’s the end of my DStv subscription. DStv content quality is poor, and other streaming services are available at a fraction of the cost,” said another.

Other commentators went a step further, calling for a boycott of DStv for abusing its monopoly on local sport.

The main gripe is that MultiChoice is punishing the wrong people. Legitimate DStv subscribers will now get a crippled streaming service because a few people abused the offering.

“I am paying for the Premium Streaming service, which means I have no decoder or dish,” one subscriber said.

“R829 per month, and I only have the ability to stream a single device at a time? Madness. I will be cancelling for sure.”

Another DStv user said MultiChoice reneged on the very thing they promoted — allowing multiple people in the same household to stream different content.

Sunstrike Capital CEO Waheed Swales said MultiChoice had scored an own goal with its planned DStv streaming changes.

“Economically, they’re banking on the fact that they will somehow increase the number of DStv subscriptions by limiting the number of concurrent streams to one,” he said.

“However, all it’s doing is making people feel a lot less justified in maintaining a DStv subscription,” he said.

Marketing strategy consultant Andrew Fraser agreed, saying MultiChoice is confusing who is really under pressure.

“I have a feeling that it isn’t my balls in that grip. But rather Multichoice’s,” Fraser said.

Many commentators predicted that DStv subscribers would migrate to competing services that are more affordable and have fewer restrictions.

“Watch how IPTV will exponentially grow now considering it has all DStv channels, Netflix movies, series and TV channels from around the globe at around R200 per month,” one person said.
MultiChoice responds

MultiChoice South Africa CEO Nyiko Shiburi said they understand that some of their customers might not be happy with this change.

“Our main aim of the change is to address password-sharing fraud and piracy, which is a challenge faced by streaming providers around the world,” he said.

“This has a devastating effect on the growth of the entertainment industry generally and the South African economy at large.”

“Piracy also has an impact on the value of the service and the quality of the content we can offer our customers. We believe we are compelled to take steps to address these activities.”