MultiChoice looks to Netflix and Amazon in strategy shift


Netflix logo on display. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Adding streaming services will give Africa’s biggest pay-TV group, MultiChoice, a head start when online viewing takes off on the continent, it said on Thursday, after revealing it had deals with Netflix and Amazon.

CEO Calvo Mawela, in a presentation on Thursday, did not name the partners or give further details of the partnerships but the deals with Netflix and Amazon were included in the company’s results presentation on its website.

“We need to start preparing ourselves to make sure... we become the platform of choice for people to consume these services,” he said, in the presentation on Thursday, referring to streaming.

“If you are a one-stop-shop where they can get all of this... we position ourselves very well in the market for us to gain customers,” he said.

Netflix poses a growing competitive threat to MultiChoice and its own streaming service, Showmax, and the partnership move marks a shift in MultiChoice’s strategy from trying to compete with such players to working with them instead.

MultiChoice declined to answer Reuters when questioned on the partnerships.

Netflix and Amazon did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

MultiChoice currently serves 19.5 million households in 50 African countries, but outside of its home market, South Africa, it believes poor internet access currently makes a rapid uptake of streaming services unlikely.

Chief Financial Officer Tim Jacobs said on Wednesday that because there was still limited overlap between the services the company sees all of them as complementary.

MultiChoice on Wednesday reported its first annual profit since being spun off by parent Naspers.