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DStv In A Battle Against Piracy In South Africa

Piracy in South Africa has become a bigger competitor to DStv Now and Showmax than Netflix, since a wide variety of unreleased movies and other content is available on many sites for free.
This is the view of Nicolas Callegari, the Senior Manager for Customer Experience at MultiChoice’s Connected Video unit.

Callegari said that MultiChoice’s ability to change with the times is its biggest challenge.

MultiChoice reiterated its views on piracy in its presentation to ICASA’s Inquiry into Subscription Television Broadcasting Services.
The pay-TV operator said that it had seen increased competition, not only from the emergence of content providers such as Netflix but also from piracy.

 MultiChoice estimates that over two million people watch pirated versions of the movies and series available on DStv in South Africa.
It added that piracy is also prevalent in sports, which is one of the primary reasons why people subscribe to DStv’s premium option.

MultiChoice said that the reality is that piracy is yet another competitive constraint on South Africa’s pay-TV services.

In its listing documents, MultiChoice had also noted that unauthorised access to programming signals might negatively affect the group’s revenue and programming processes.
The delivery of pay-TV programming requires the usage of conditional access technology to proactively block piracy and unauthorised access to programming.
MultiChoice said that it mainly uses the conditional access technology supplied by Irdeto, and this is a costly practise as it needs to be updated continually in order to remain effective.

The pay-TV operator added that no matter how reliable conditional access is, technology would never completely prevent piracy.
It warned that if illegal access to transmissions is not prevented, subscribers could still switch to pirated signals.

ICASA, on the other hand, said it wasn’t sure how much piracy really constrained subscription broadcasting as claimed by Multichoice.

The regulator concluded that since there are many active efforts in place to prevent piracy not only in South Africa but globally, it does not truly offer a strong competitive constraint on pay-TV.

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