Tag: MultiChoice

DStv may soon launch flexible plan

DStv, the Multichoice-owned pay-TV subscription service, is reportedly working on a premium offering that’ll unbundle some of its sports and movie channels, giving their viewers the choice of what they want in their packages. This is according to a recent article by Stuff.

The highlights of the new package are outlined below:

  • The new “flexible” service will be called DStv Flex
  • It aims give users more power in choosing what they want to watch on the platform
  • MultiChoice is looking at allowing DStv subscribers to choose their sport channels in the form of three different, optional, add-on sports packages
  • Customers who sign up for Flex will pay a compulsory R300 per month fee
  • For this they will receive an Entertainment pack with 67 Premium channels
  • Users will be able to add between one and three sports packs. Each sports package includes a different combination of SuperSport and ESPN channels
  • Two of the sports packs cost R350 per month while there’s one priced at R500 per month
  • Customers will have the power to switch certain packages on and off at any time

DStv users have been asking for flexible options around sports for years.

MultiChoice denies R33bn Nigerian tax bill

Source: News24

MultiChoice has disputed reports that it was ordered by a Nigerian appeal tribunal to pay 50% of a 1.8 trillion naira (R66 billion) disputed tax backlog imposed on it by Nigerian authorities.

MultiChoice had to pay the R33 billion as a deposit and condition of the pay-TV company’s case being heard, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says in an emailed statement on Wednesday. Bloomberg reported that the case has been adjourned for hearing on September 23.

But MultiChoice Nigeria said in a statement that the direction issued by the tribunal does not compel Multichoice Nigeria to make payment of 50% of 1.8 trillion naira, being half of the disputed tax assessment which is under appeal.

“The direction issued by the TAT in accordance with paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to the FIRS Establishment Act requires Multichoice Nigeria to deposit with FIRS an amount equal to the tax paid by Multichoice Nigeria in the preceding year of assessment or one half of the disputed tax assessment under appeal, whichever is the lesser amount plus 10%.

“The lesser amount is the tax paid by Multichoice Nigeria in the previous assessed year which is substantially less than the disputed assessment.”

The company said it continues to engage with FIRS in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Last month, Nigerian authorities ordered local banks to freeze Multichoice’s accounts the unpaid tax. FIRS executive chairman Muhammad Nami said the decision to freeze the accounts was as a result of the group’s under-remittance of taxes and continued refusal to grant FIRS access to its servers for audit.

 

By Loyiso Sidimba for IOL

The troubled SABC will square off with its rival MultiChoice at the communications regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) over the requirement that the subscription broadcasting services carry three of its television channels for free.

The public broadcaster wants subscription broadcasting services such as MultiChoice and StarSat to no longer be allowed to carry its public broadcasting service channels, SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3, without entering into commercial agreements.

According to the SABC, its long-standing view has been that the current provisions of Icasa regulations, dictating that it should make its broadcasting content available at no cost and prescribing the public broadcaster to bear the costs of transmission to subscription broadcasting services, are ultra vires (beyond the powers).

The SABC has seven television channels authorised by Icasa – the “must carry” SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 as well as SABC Encore, SABC News, SABC Parliament and SABC Sport – and fears that the authority’s draft regulations extend the ambit of the “must carry” concept to all the free-to-air public broadcasting service programmes comprising in a public broadcasting service channel.

”This would extend the SABC’s ’must carry’ obligations to SABC Sport, SABC Education and any other current channel or future channel to be developed,” the public broadcaster warned Icasa.

In its submission to Icasa dated May 21, the SABC insisted that the “must carry” channels are SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 and do not include SABC Sport, SABC Education or any other SABC television channel either existing or to be developed.

The public broadcaster may, in its discretion, add the carriage of these additional channels, subject to commercial negotiations.

However, MultiChoice is opposed to the plan and has suggested that the move might be illegal despite the SABC obtaining legal opinion supporting its stance.

The SABC has been accused by MutliChoice of putting first its commercial interests that have now become more urgent in light of its continuing financial difficulties, which have nothing to do with its public service mandate of ensuring universal access to broadcasting services.

MultiChoice revealed that the SABC already earns R569 million a year in advertising revenue from the three channels carried on its DStv platforms.

”Contrary to the unsubstantiated allegations made by the SABC, no subscription or advertising revenue flows to MultiChoice as a result of the carriage of the ’must carry’ channels,” the company explained.

MultiChoice also charged that the public broadcaster failed to acknowledge that the company already makes a significant contribution towards the sustenance of public broadcasting by carrying all ’must carry’ transmission costs, incurring over R108m between 2008 and last year to comply with its obligations, and that Icasa has failed to recognise this.

”There is no legal basis for the SABC’s ’must carry/must pay’ proposal. Any suggestion that subscription broadcasters must pay the SABC for the ’must carry’ channels is completely at odds with the Electronic Communications Act 2005,” MultiChoice told Icasa.

The company insisted that subscription broadcasters cannot lawfully be required to provide the ’must carry’ channels to non-subscribers as such an obligation would not be legally permissible and is likely to be struck down as ultra vires and invalid on other grounds.

Free-to air e.tv wants Icasa’s must carry regulations not to be limited to public service broadcasting licensees such as SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 but to be extended to other commercial free-to air broadcasters with public service obligations like it.

The SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) have backed the public broadcaster.

”In broad terms, the draft regulations are supportive of our position on ’must carry’, which can be summarised as: Must carry, must pay,” the civil society and not-for-profit organisations stated, adding that Icasa has allowed a ‘must carry, must not pay anything’ principle to exist.

Icasa will hear oral submissions from e.tv, MMA/SOS, the SABC and MultiChoice later this month.

 

By Dan Meyer for The South African

Broadcasting giant MultiChoice has indicated its support over proposed measures to save the embattled South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC), who plan to implement a R265 yearly licensing fee to all South African households able to view their content.

The controversial plan would essentially see any household with access to a tv, laptop, smart phone or tablet charged an annual levy that the broadcaster hopes will salvage them from the financial distress they currently find themselves in. This would replace the existing TV Licence structure.

South Africans have reacted angrily to the notion that they should have to pay for the errors made by the SABC’s management over the years, even if they simply have access to the broadcaster’s content and choose not to watch anything it has to offer. The Democratic Alliance (DA) have called the proposed levy a “stealth bailout” and categorically opposed it. The measure would supposedly generate around R2 billion a year for the SABC.

The SABC submitted a 40-page document to the Department of Communications last week in which they detail the proposed levy and its collection system, saying that it should replace the current TV Licence structure.

“Essentially, the SABC submits that the public broadcasting levy should become a device-independent levy on all households that have the possibility of access[ing] public broadcasting content whether via the internet, mobile, analogue or any digital broadcasting platforms, with exemptions for indigent households and discounts for pensioners and other designated persons,” they said, adding that the the collection of the licence fee from subscribers, per household, is “not an onerous requirement from a systems point of view, noting it amounts to 72c a day based on the current licence fee”.

MultiChoice said on Tuesday that the proposal would eradicate the “outdated” TV licence model that they believe is not on in line with “international best practice”.

The broadcaster said that it is in favour of a “more effective, ring-fenced public broadcasting levy”, and suggested that this should preferably be collected by the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

They’re endorsement of the proposal is the polar opposite of they’re appraisal of the plan offered just last week, when they suggested that the plan is unfeasible and “not worthy of any serious consideration”.

The endorsement follows the latest round of retrenchments effected at the SABC, who confirmed the dismissal of 12 SABC radio station managers on Monday 8 March, with the company now initiating a revised structure for its radio titles that will see certain stations clustered together in various “combos”.

Vuyo Mthembu, SABC spokesperson, said that within the new structure, marketing managers will be reporting directly to corporate affairs and marketing departments “to ensure efficiency in the delivery of the organisation’s marketing objectives”.

“Furthermore, station managers are now called business managers as this will ensure that business managers of each station take full ownership of the profit and loss responsibility, drive revenue and listenership growth whilst fulfilling the SABC’s mandate of informing, educating and entertaining South Africans,” he said.

 

Source: MyBroadband

Independent analyst Chris Gilmour said MultiChoice is not liked and very greedy, which does not bode well for its future prospects.

Gilmour was speaking to Business Day TV about French media company Groupe Canal+ acquiring another big chunk of shares in MultiChoice.

Groupe Canal+ SA acquired 6.5% of MultiChoice Group’s total ordinary shares in early August, and three weeks later increased its stake to 12%.

This sparked rumours that Vivendi – the entity which owns and controls Groupe Canal+ – is looking to acquire MultiChoice.

Vivendi tried to acquire MultiChoice Africa in 2018, but the multi-million-dollar offer was rejected by Naspers.

The company is now stocking up on MultiChoice shares through Groupe Canal+, which may indicate that Vivendi is interested in the bigger prize.

Commenting on this development, Gilmour said he was surprised by the news and is not sure what Vivendi “is playing at here”.

He said given the stiff competition which MultiChoice is facing – notably from Netflix and other streaming providers – the company is facing a tough future.

Even with the acquisition rumours, Gilmour did not like MultiChoice as a long-term investment.

“You are talking about an operator which is not liked and is very greedy. This is going to come back to bite them,” he said.

MultiChoice responds
MultiChoice did not directly respond to Gilmour’s statement that the company is greedy and disliked.

A MultiChoice spokesperson told MyBroadband it is not their policy to comment on the personal views of third parties, including market commentators and analysts.

Instead, the company commented on the corporate action related to Groupe Canal+ purchasing a large chunk of its shares.

“As a listed company, we maintain an open dialogue with our strategic partners and the investment community,” a MultiChoice spokesperson said.

“Vivendi has publicly stated that its stake in MultiChoice Group is a long-term financial investment, demonstrating its confidence in the prospects of the group as the leading video entertainment platform on the African continent and reinforcing its existing long-term relationship with us.”

 

Questions around MultiChoice’s executive exodus

Source: MyBroadband

Four high-profile MultiChoice executives have resigned or have left the company in recent weeks, raising questions as to what is behind these departures.

This week, MultiChoice announced that the CEO of its South African operations, Mark Rayner, had resigned to “further his journey outside the group”.

The company said Rayner will leave MultiChoice on 30 November 2020 and that his successor will be announced “in the near future”.

This follows shortly after the resignation of MultiChoice Connected Video CEO Niclas Ekdahl in June to “pursue personal interests”.

Yolisa Phahle will take over Ekdahl’s position, in addition to running the General Entertainment division.

Other departures include MultiChoice Group chief strategy officer Max Krudop and MultiChoice Connected Video head of communications Richard Boorman.

The exodus of high-profile executives at MultiChoice sparked speculation that there may be something more to these resignations than meets the eye.

One theory is that MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela’s management style and strategic direction for the company led to the resignations.

There is also speculation that some of the resignations and departures were not planned, but this could not be confirmed.

 

By Thinus Ferreira for News24

South Africa’s Competition Commission has started an investigation into MultiChoice that has announced plans to add global streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video alongside its own Showmax service.

In its latest financial year results announced in mid-June, MultiChoice revealed that it plans to add Netflix and Amazon Prime Video as subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services to a new streaming app carousel that it wants to launch for DStv subscribers.

This new streaming app vertical will house separate blocks or apps, incorporating DStv Now, Showmax, Joox, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video – and in future even more global streaming services like possibly Disney+, HBO Max, Spotify and others – as MultiChoice evolves to become what in the pay-TV industry is termed a “super-aggregator” of video content.

How it will work, and already works elsewhere in the world, is that consumers can still subscribe separately and directly with these streaming services, but can also do so through their traditional pay-TV service that gives access to their rivals in win-win “frenemy” content distribution agreements.

MultiChoice wants to provide DStv subscribers who sign up for one or more of these SVOD services – for however long – the convenience of one monthly bill paid in rand and the streaming service amount(s) just showing up as an additional invoice line-item.

How MultiChoice benefits is that by offering DStv subscribers seamless access to streaming service competitors but through its interface and platform, MultiChoice gets to keep a DStv subscriber within its own eco-system. MultiChoice also gets paid a commission by a SVOD service for every subscriber who signs up to each of these services.

How the pay-TV subscriber benefits is that the tacked-on streaming service subscription, paid in local currency, is usually a bit cheaper than going direct as part of a promotion to entice them to try and use it, and because the pay-TV operator because of scale gets a “wholesale” price.

The streaming service benefits by getting additional revenue and new subscribers through leveraging the scale of the pay-TV operator and piggybacking on the more trusted local brand. It lowers what is called “product friction” – potential customers to scared to try something new or unwilling to complete a new registration and sign-up and cumbersome login process.

Traditional pay-TV operators in the United States like Comcast, in the United Kingdom like Sky, Canal+ in France and several others worldwide have already taken the leap to integrate and offer streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max and others that are actually competitors, into their existing services and making them available through their platforms and user interfaces.

MultiChoice plans to take the wrapping off its latest DStv Explora decoder next Wednesday in a media launch that it will broadcast on one of its own DStv channels, with the decoder that will likely be 4K-resolution capable.

It will likely also come with a DStv remote control that will have a dedicated Netflix or video streaming button, similar to elsewhere in the world, taking DStv subscribers directly to the streaming app carousel where DStv Now, Showmax, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and future streaming services will all appear stacked next to each other.

It’s unclear how the new Competition Commission investigation might scupper or alter MultiChoice’s showcase plans for next week.

MultiChoice was asked for comment regarding the Competition Commission investigation into MultiChoice’s SVOD expansion plans, and how the investigation will impact the Randburg-based pay-TV operator’s plans for the consumer roll-out of these rival services on its platform.

Joe Heshu, MultiChoice’s group executive for corporate affairs, told Channel24 on Wednesday in response to the media enquiry that MultiChoice is unable to comment at this stage.

Siyabulela Makunga, Competition Commission spokesperson, told Channel24 about its investigation of MultiChoice wanting to add Netflix and Amazon Prime Video that “we’re not commenting on the issue because it is still at a very sensitive stage”.

He couldn’t say when the investigation started, or when it might be finished. “It’s still very early,” he said.

We know this was a long read and your time is precious. Did you know you can now listen to articles? Subscribe to News24 for access to this exciting feature and more.

 

DStv offers up free channels

By Jamie McKane for MyBroadband

DStv Now has made a selection of channels available to all South Africans for free.

DStv Now is an online streaming service which is bundled with DStv’s satellite broadcasting service, and allows subscribers to watch TV and shows from mobile devices, smart TVs, laptops, and more.

The new free channel package is available to all South Africans, however, and not only DStv subscribers.

The company said that in response to the coronavirus outbreak in South Africa, a number of DStv Now channels are no longer locked behind a subscription and are available to anyone with an Internet connection.

DStv channels which are now available to stream for free are:

100 – DStv
180 – People’s Weather
238 – SuperSport Play
313 – PBS Kids
320 – Channel O
343 – TBN
400 – BBC World News
401 – CNN
402 – Sky News
403 – eNCA
404 – SABC News
405 – Newzroom Afrika
414 – Euronews Now

Staying informed about the latest news on the virus is the first step in stopping its spread, said the company. For this reason, it has made several 24-hour news channels available.

In addition to these channels, episodes of popular series are also available via the Catch Up portal on the free service, including Igazi, The River, Isibaya, Binnelanders, Suidooster, and Die Ware Naarheid.

MultiChoice building catches fire

Source: EWN

MultiChoice on Tuesday evacuated its headquarters in Randburg while the Johannesburg Fire Department tried to extinguish a blaze in the building.

Details were still sketchy but Eyewitness News confirmed with the satellite TV broadcaster that no one was injured.

It is not yet clear what started the blaze.

MultiChoice’s group executive for corporate affairs, Joe Heshu, said the affected buildings were all evacuated but the fire was isolated to the technical area.

“The fire department is on-site. No employees have been harmed and we expect no interruptions in service or customer care,” Heshu said.

Staff said the fire began just after 1 pm in the afternoon.

The building was evacuated as a precautionary measure and staff would only be allowed back inside once it’s been declared safe.

The extent of the damage was not yet known.

According to The Sowetan, “The fire was mostly on the ventilation system on the roof of the building. This is not the new MultiChoice building, but the old one – the technical [operations] building.”

YouTube to break sports broadcast monopoly

Source: IOL

YouTube has announced that sports fans now have access to LIVE and Video On Demand (VOD) streaming.

Users can stream basketball, rugby, cricket and football events including the 2019 NBA Finals, Women’s World Cup, Africa Cup of Nations, UEFA Champions and Europa leagues, ABSA Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1, and Serie A.

Sports consumption on YouTube in the EMEA region is growing fast. In 2018 alone, YouTube saw a 70 percent increase in views of sports and fitness related content — totalling more than 61 billion views.

In Africa, sports content on YouTube is both broad and deep with YouTube delivering evergreen sporting highlights alongside new and emerging sports experiences like home fitness and 79 percent of viewers saying that YouTube has sport and fitness content they can’t find anywhere else.

“It goes without saying that Africa is sport-loving continent, so it makes perfect sense for us to bring African sports fans what they love. Our audience is constantly looking for sports content on YouTube,” said YouTube content partnerships lead Dayo Olopade.

Olopade added, “In 2018, we saw a 70 percent increase of views in Sports & Fitness content on YouTube across Europe, the Middle East and Africa with content garnering more than 61 billion views. Today we are here to say we hear you and we are more than happy to bring you the content you desire, in partnership with NBA Africa and our other partners”.

South African fans can now catch NBA basketball fixtures, La Liga 123 matches and UFC matches LIVE on YouTube, while the remaining sporting events will be pre-packaged video on demand.

  • 1
  • 2

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top