DStv owner MultiChoice’s new plan to crush Netflix in Africa

DStv owner MultiChoice partnered with Comcast-owned NBCUniversal and Sky to create the leading streaming service in Africa and beat competitors like Netflix and Disney+.

The deal centres around the streaming service Showmax which NBCUniversal’s Peacock will now power.

As part of the deal, Showmax’s ownership will change. NBCUniversal will own 30%, and MultiChoice will own 70%.

Besides new technology, the partnership with NBCUniversal and Sky will bring international content to the Showmax platform.

Showmax was launched in 2015 as MultiChoice’s streaming service and became well-established in South Africa.

The streaming service is also available in Africa and has an established reach throughout the content, albeit much less than in South Africa.

Peacock offers a large international content portfolio with an established customer base of 20 million paying subscribers and leading streaming technology.

The partnership will bolster Showmax through third-party content from HBO, Warner Brothers International, and Sony and local content like Mzansi Magic and Africa Magic.

MultiChoice said it would continue to invest in its linear pay-TV businesses to drive growth and increased penetration.

However, it added that it is an appropriate time to step up its ambition and investment in the subscription video-on-demand over-the-top segment.

For this partnership, MultiChoice has incorporated a new UK-registered company, Earth UK Holdings Limited, which will trade as Showmax and hold a 100% interest in the streaming service.

MultiChoice will, therefore, contribute its existing Showmax business for a 70% equity stake in EarthCo.

Showmax SA will own all the Showmax rights, assets and liabilities in South Africa, a 79% stake in MSA Limited Nigeria, and the rest of the African operations.

EarthCo will be supported by MultiChoice local pay-TV operations when it launches.

MultiChoice and Comcast have committed to funding EarthCo during its investment phase in proportion to their shareholdings.

EarthCo’s board of directors will initially consist of three representatives from MultiChoice, with additional appointments to be made in due course.

The board will appoint an executive management team featuring representatives from the existing Showmax structures.

EarthCo’s senior leadership team will be based out of the UK and its Dubai branch.

Operational teams will be located in major markets, initially South Africa and Nigeria.