The African streaming market is about to receive a new contender as NBCUniversal has announced plans to launch its Universal+ service to subscribers on the MultiChoice Group’s DStv platform in South Africa by mid-October of this year.
South Africa will become the first African country to fully operationalize the Universal+ service. This comes on the heels of the service’s launch in Spain, Brazil, Latin America, and India. The new streaming platform will include movies and series from Universal TV, E!, DreamWorks, Studio Universal as well as Telemundo.
As a free and value-added offering, DStv subscribers will be able to access unlimited hours of intriguing entertainment, including the Safta award-winning Celebrity Game Night, through Catch Up on the DStv app or by connecting Explora and selecting Universal+.
Speaking on the launch, Lee Raftery, MD for Europe, Middle East & Africa at NBCUniversal International Networks & Direct-To-Consumer said:
We’re thrilled to launch Universal+ with our long-standing partners DStv, giving their customers a brand-new way to enjoy a vastly expanded catalogue of our best content.
Simon Camerer, COO of MultiChoice South Africa also expressed his excitement about the deal, saying:
“As Africa’s most loved storyteller, we are always looking to offer top entertainment to our DStv customers, and the addition of Universal+ aims to do just that. We are excited to bring the best of international content and the widest possible choice of great shows to satisfy all our viewers”.
Universal+ is Multichoice’s next shot at a bigger audience share
In response to the growing competition from foreign competitors, Multichoice launched its own streaming platform, Showmax, in 2015, with lower prices on premium packages.
Similarly, the company launched a new decoder called Explora Ultra in order to provide users with better ways to discover new content from DSTv channels in 2020. The new decoder also integrated its own streaming platform, Showmax. and third-party streaming platforms, including Netflix.
With the partnership with Netflix, DSTv hoped to give its users the option of signing in to their Netflix account directly as well as the option of adding their Netflix subscription to their monthly DStv bill. In exchange, Netflix is collaborating to produce more African content such as “Blood and Water”.
In 2021, the collaboration drive extended to Amazon Prime. Customers with a DStv Prime Video membership can now access the entertainment service, which includes movies, TV shows, and Amazon Originals.
And, this year, Multichoice announced that it has partnered with Disney+ with the new decoder, Explora Ultra as an enabler to provide subscribers access to Disney+’s incredible catalogue of films, series and exclusive content.
Multichoice is not relenting.
The partnership may be about more than just providing international content to these streaming behemoths. Africa, with a population of over one billion people, represents a potentially large audience for foreign video streaming services.
These streaming behemoths may be vying to meet the African streaming 2026 target of 15 million video-on-demand subscribers from the continent by 2026.
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