Multichoice wages subscription war with Netflix

Published by Andile Sicetsha

Multichoice is deadset on stamping its authority in the streaming era and standing in its path is the global content giant Netflix.

Multichoice takes the fight to Netflix’ doorstep

The cable network’s executive Calvo Maliwa spoke candidly about the future, in an interview on CNN’s Connecting Africa show.

Maliwa revealed that a strategy has been set in place for the growth of the business’ footprint in the continent. One sure way to build subscriptions, he said, was investing heavily in local content and that’s what Multichoice has been doing over the years.

“Each year we spend over R2 billion investing in local content productions across the whole continent and our plan is to increase our local content composition from 38% to 45% in the next two years,” Maliwa told CNN’s Eleni Giokos.

This approach, he termed ‘hyper local’. According to Multichoice, bumping up the budget on localised production will give the cable network’s streaming services (Showmax, Showmax Pro, DStv Now) an edge over Netflix’s global library.

“If we focus on going hyper-local that is a key differentiator, whereas the likes of Netflix, they will come and have some level of local content but I’m not sure if they will get to the level of localisation that we do in terms of different languages across the continent,” he added.

DStv sees gains from cheaper packages

The Multichoice CEO noted that with this plan in place, the business hopes to double its subscription base, growing it from 20 million active users to an ambitious 50 million in two years.

Much of this hyperbolised projection is guided by recent data on its subscription growth. Sure, Multichoice is losing out on Premium subscribers but the cheaper packages, like DStv Compact and other dual deals that include Showmax and — ironically — Netflix access within the network, have added 2.1 million 90-day active users, according to My Broadband.

All bets are on local right now and while the strategy is ambitious, it does bode well for the continent’s film industry.