Armed with a fast broadband connection and a large monitor, South Africans do not need a DStv and TV license subscription to watch premium video content.
Netflix, Prime Video, Showmax, Apple TV+, and Britbox are on-demand streaming video providers that compete with linear broadcast services like DStv. Big-screen monitors are an alternative to standard TV sets, which require a TV license to purchase in South Africa.
South Africans can bypass the requirement for a television set by opting for streaming over satellite TV and a monitor over a television set.
MultiChoice reported an 8% drop in subscribers to its high-end DStv Premium and Compact Plus packages between April 2020 and March 2021. This is a continuation of a trend that began in 2016 with the global debut of Netflix. Initially, the arrival of Netflix simply slowed DStv Premium subscriber growth, but by 2018, MultiChoice reported that its most lucrative subscriber was DStv Premium.
DStv packages are declining DStv and TV license
MultiChoice has continued to make money despite this. On the contrary, the firm reported record earnings for the fiscal year 2020/21.
Regardless of profits, subscriber numbers on high-end DStv packages are declining since consumers can obtain fast, uncapped fiber broadband and a variety of streaming services for less than the cost of a DStv Premium subscription.
The table below summarises the top streaming services currently available in South Africa. Not shown in the table are services such as YouTube Premium and Curiosity Stream.
Walt Disney recently announced that Disney+ would be available in South Africa during the winter of next year. There was no word on pricing, and exact debut date, or anything else.
In addition to the subscription services mentioned above, streaming video users may access free content libraries, with TelkomONE providing SABC programming and E-tv just releasing eVOD.
MultiChoice offers sports streaming through Showmax Pro — available through a mobile plan for R225 per month or the standard plan for R449 per month.
It also offers streaming-only DStv subscriptions that include live streaming of many of its channels, including SuperSport
While these subscriptions are priced the same as DStv’s satellite TV packages, viewers can avoid requiring a TV license by going decoder-less.
To avoid needing a TV license it is also necessary to use a monitor that does not include a TV tuner, rather than a conventional television set. Four models of 40-inch or larger ultra-high-definition monitors that are available in South Africa are listed below.