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Multichoice aims for middle market

Lower-cost option will offer 11 channels at half the cost

Johannesburg — In a move designed to significantly boost its stagnant subscriber base, paycaster Multichoice Africa has launched a lower-cost option for its digital satellite service aimed at attracting the middle market.

The Johannesburg-based continental satcaster’s subscriber base for its DSTV bouquet of some 50 channels — targeted at LSMs 9 to 11 at the upper end of the market — has remained static for the past few years at around 1.1-million across the continent and 875 000 in South Africa alone.

The new lower-cost option, DSTV Compact, will offer only 11 channels but at half the cost of the traditional service, to be called DSTV Premium in future.

Multichoice Africa chief executive Nolo Letele said the introduction of DStv Compact was a pioneering move.

“It’s a risk, but a calculated one. By making a DSTVtv option accessible to lower income groups, we predict that in the next 14 months we will have in the region of 45 000 new subscribers. Over the last few years we have consistently heard of people wanting to get DStv but not being able to afford it.” The main driver for DStv Compact was expected to be the recently launched 24-hour soccer channel, SuperSport 3, he said. “However,” said Letele, “all genres have been catered for in the rest of the DStv Compact line up. There is drama, action, wildlife, news, cartoons, reality and religion.” The channels making up DStv Compact are: SuperSport 3, Hallmark, ActionX, Reality, Channel 0, BBC News, Animal Planet, Cartoon Network, SABC Africa, Rhema and TBN.

Marketing director Graham Fuel said that there was some risk associated with launching DStv Compact since it would fragment the market and could lure existing premium subscribers to the lower-cost option.

However, Multichoice’s research had indicated that only 1% of existing subscribers would consider migration to DStv Compact.

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