In 2023, DStv experienced a relatively slow year in terms of channel additions and removals. While the broadcaster only introduced two new channels and removed one, it did make significant changes to its channel offerings for certain customers.
This article will explore the updates made by DStv in 2023 and shed light on the reasoning behind these decisions. Compared to the previous year, where DStv added seven channels and removed four, the broadcaster’s focus in 2023 seemed to be on strategic adjustments rather than extensive expansion.
However, it did catch the attention of DStv Compact and Access customers by granting them access to ESPN sports channels, which were previously exclusive to higher-tier subscriptions. This move aimed to enhance the viewing experience for these customers and provide them with a wider range of sports content.
When questioned about the slowed pace of channel acquisitions, DStv remained tight-lipped, neither confirming nor denying the intentional reduction. The broadcaster stated that it would communicate any changes as they occurred, leaving room for speculation regarding its future plans.
One notable removal from DStv’s channel lineup was CCTV-4 in March 2023. DStv explained that regular reviews of channel offerings prompted this decision, ensuring that customers receive the best local and international content.
Low viewership and performance on specific packages were cited as reasons for channel removals. In this case, the decision not to renew CCTV-4 was based on commercial viability and viewership.
However, DStv did not keep its customers waiting for long. In April 2023, DStv Compact customers were pleasantly surprised when they gained access to ESPN 2, a channel previously restricted to Compact Plus and Premium subscriptions.
ESPN 2 became the go-to destination for basketball and American football enthusiasts in South Africa, offering content from the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL).
MultiChoice CEO, Marc Jury, described this move as a reward for loyal customers, giving them access to a broader range of entertaining content, including the 2024 Super Bowl and the highly-anticipated NFL draft.
After this announcement, DStv remained relatively quiet regarding new channel offerings until November. On November 6, 2023, DStv launched a new kids channel called Play Room. This channel catered to South African children, offering a mix of local educational and entertainment programming, as well as popular international content.
Play Room also featured animated shows dubbed into isiZulu, providing a unique viewing experience for young audiences. The channel primarily focused on educational programming for four- to six-year-olds in the mornings, while afternoons offered live-action shows and a local live show with high entertainment value for tweens.
Play Room was available on DStv’s Access package and higher subscriptions, requiring customers to pay a minimum of R99 for the streaming-only plan or R129 monthly for the decoder package.
In late November 2023, DStv made another significant addition to its channel lineup. ESPN 1, previously exclusive to the DStv Compact plan or higher, became accessible to customers on the entry-level Access package starting from December 1.
This decision was driven by DStv’s regular reviews of viewership trends. By including ESPN 1 in the Access package, DStv aimed to provide fans of basketball, American football, and baseball with a more affordable entry point to enjoy these sports.
Furthermore, DStv added NWTV to its channel offerings in late 2023. NWTV focused on content specific to the North West province and other notable coverage from Southern Africa.
MultiChoice highlighted NWTV’s aim to inspire and entertain viewers while celebrating South African heroes. This channel became available on all DStv packages, ensuring that customers across the board could access its unique content.