Tag Archives: DSTV

EbonyLife TV quits DStv

EbonyLife TV, the fast-growing African broadcast entertainment network founded by Mo Abudu, will no longer air on pay platform DStv from the end of this month.

Mo Abudu

Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife TV, took to her Instagram page to make the announcement, saying: “Remember when we used to wait a whole week to watch our favourite TV shows? Well, those days are gone forever! Now we can binge on the whole series if we want to. Therefore, we have decided that EbonyLife TV will no longer be available on DStv from 31st July 2020.

“Create your own viewing schedule and watch your favourite EbonyLife shows with our app, EbonyLife ON, available from Play Store or App Store for access to our library of over 5000 hours of series, lifestyle and entertainment.”

EbonyLife TV launched on DStv across Africa in July 2013 and debuted on rival service StarTimes in 2018. Later that year, the company launched its own video-on-demand (VoD) service available on iOS platforms and Google.

The channel was still available on Star Times at the time of writing and no announcement has been made about dropping carriage on that Chinese-owned pay TV platform.

EbonyLife TV’s move to drop its linear channels on a third-party platform in favour of the company’s own direct-to-consumer on-demand service mirrors a similar move by The Walt Disney Company (TWDC).

The US-based media giant recently announced plans to close Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior in the UK, with all content being made exclusively available on recently launched SVoD service Disney+ instead.

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MultiChoice backs UN Covid campaign

MultiChoice Group has partnered with the United Nations (UN) as an official supporter of its Covid-19 awareness campaign, named Pause.

Imtiaz Patel

The Pause campaign, which is aimed at highlighting the dangers of sharing false information related to Covid -19, launched globally on June 30 with information broadcast across Africa through the DStv and GOtv on-air and digital platforms, SuperSport and M-Net properties and Showmax.

Furthermore, the campaign asks people around the world to pause, think and take care before sharing information that could be inaccurate or a result of misinformation and may have harmful effects.

Robert Skinner, senior advisor for global communications at the UN, said: “We are in a moment of global reckoning as Covid-19 and its social and economic consequences challenge the world in unprecedented ways. Misinformation, hate speech and fake news are fueling and distorting all of these challenges and eroding the truth. We are very excited to have MultiChoice onboard as a supporter giving the launch of our campaign reach across Africa. They are uniquely positioned to deliver this important message to their diverse audiences across the continent.”

MultiChoice executive chairman Imtiaz Patel added: “Reliable information is vital to the fight against Covid -19. The dissemination of credible information has become critical to fighting this epidemic, which continues to impact millions across the globe and our continent. We are, therefore, honoured to be able to utilise the continental reach of our broadcast and digital platforms across Africa to empower people with vital information.”

MultiChoice has supported a number of initiatives in the fight against the spread of the pandemic, which continues to wreak havoc across the globe and is being felt acutely across Africa. It also continues to seek opportunities to use its platforms to combat the spread of Covid-19 while supporting initiatives and airing educational and news-related content aligned with the organisation’s commitment to making an impact in the communities where it operates.

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MultiChoice offers online learning

MultiChoice South Africa, the company behind pay platform DStv, has expanded its offering to include free online learning and more entertainment.

Mark Rayner

DStv customers will have access to 600 free courses offered by US online learning platform Udemy through the DStv app until the end of July. DStv Premium customers will also have access to an email voucher to use on any of Udemy’s paid-for courses, valid for a month.

According to MultiChoice, this is an attempt to expand its content selection, value and reach as South Africans continue to adjust to new ways of living and working.

MultiChoice South Africa CEO Mark Rayner said: “MultiChoice is pleased to introduce a brand new initiative designed to help our customers make the most of their time indoors. The free online courses available through the DStv app, provide customers with the opportunity to transform their business, learn a new language or discover a new passion.

“DStv is committed to offering trusted companionship to our loyal customers. We will continue to bring you only the best local and international entertainment, keep you informed with up-to-the-minute news updates, and support our industry and government in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The group is also offering 21 channels, currently available on premium package DStv Family, to DStv Access customers from May 15 to June 14. These include sports net WWE, reality-themed Moja Love and kids’ channels Nicktoons and Boomerang HD.

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Nigerians attack MultiChoice tariff hike

Nigerians have criticised the planned move by MultiChoice Nigeria to increase the cost of its pay TV service DStv to reflect an increase in value-added tax.

John Ugbe

According to some, the rise in VAT – from 5% to 7.5% from June 1 – is coming at the wrong time since the Covid-19 lockdown has led to an increase in the price of many commodities as well as transportation.

Felix Morka, executive director of the Social Economic Rights Action Centre in Lagos, said: “The vast majority of the people outside the formal system are the major target of the lockdown and it has hit them devastatingly. And any disruption to their daily livelihood has a huge and significant impact on their ability to meet the most basic needs.”

Investigative journalist Fisayo Soyombo took to social media to say: “It’s highly insensitive of DStv to announce a pay hike (starting June 1) in the middle of a pandemic that has left many of us broke. While lots of companies have been financially battered for the past six weeks, DStv is one of the few that has gained from the increased patronage.

“Even those who would not ordinarily renew their DStv subscription did it this time around to keep themselves busy at home during the lockdown. DStv should have shown gratitude by waiting for this pandemic to blow over. This is not how to reward your customers.”

However, John Ugbe, CEO of the Nigerian arm of Naspers-owned African pay TV group MultiChoice, denied the company was hiking subscription rates and said the rise had been forced on the company.

“We are not increasing prices. What has happened is that the federal government’s finance act was signed in January and implementation began in February, so the increase in VAT is what we are implementing now,” he said.

“We thought we could absorb the cost for a while, and that was what we did. We’ve absorbed the cost since February and we have been paying the difference in taxes and we can no longer do so. So once again, we are not hiking prices, it’s only the 2.5% increase in VAT that we are implementing.”

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DStv shuts down TV Mall

MultiChoice-owned DStv has removed live shopping channel TV Mall after two years on the pay TV platform.

The channel, which was added in mid-2018, will shut down tomorrow. The move comes following subscriber complaints about the low production values of the selling segments.

Aletta Alberts, executive head of content strategy at the MultiChoice Group said: “It has been wonderful to work with the TV Mall team. Being the first African live shopping mall, they have been a true milestone in Africa’s broadcast industry.

“MultiChoice remains committed to providing the best local and international content for its customers. We are proud and appreciative of our association with TV Mall and will continue to provide the most compelling and entertaining content for our customers.”

TV Mall CEO Nicky Fintz said: “During this time, we need to understand the dynamics of the market we aim to please, and we’re cognisant of the state of the economy during this pandemic. It has been a pleasure to have had the opportunity of being on the DStv platform, which enabled us to have a bigger footprint in South African homes.”

The MultiChoice Group added that it constantly reviews its content and channel offering to ensure it gives its customers local content that resonates with them.

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DStv gets Naked & Afraid, Mercy & Ike

Two new series have arrived on MultiChoice-owned pay TV platform DStv, which has also added an Islamic channel to its line-up.

The two new shows are reality series Mercy & Ike, which will air on Africa Magic, and survival format Naked & Afraid, which will be available on Discovery.

Mercy & Ike centres on the romance between Mercy Eke, winner of Big Brother Naija season four, and Ike Onyema, her fellow housemate, whose relationship began in the Big Brother house.

Africa Magic channel director Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu said of the show: “We at Africa Magic are passionate about ensuring that our viewers are presented with the best entertainment. The relationship between Mercy and Ike is both entertaining and exciting, and we would like the viewers to see that love can be found anywhere.”

Naked & Afraid, meanwhile, sees a man and a woman stranded without clothes, food or water in a dangerous location, where they must use their survival skills to find food and shelter.

In related news, Islamic channel Sunna TV has now launched, with customers able to access it on DStv channel 351 and GOtv channel 84.

The network features Islamic content designed for the whole family, including teachings on religious awareness plus lifestyle shows, entertainment and discussions.

MultiChoice Nigeria chief customer officer Martin Mabutho said: “With the inclusion of the Sunna TV channel, the viewing options of our customers on both DStv and GOtv have been expanded.

“Subscribers can now enjoy the best of Islamic religious programming starting from the month of Ramadan and beyond. The Muslim faithful can also use this channel to aid spiritual reflection, prayers and as a tool to educate the young ones on the teachings of Islam.”

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Courtroom show debut date revealed

Justice Olusola Williams and Ebuka Obi-Uchendu in Judging Matters

New reality courtroom show Judging Matters is set to premiere on Africa Magic Showcase next week.

Hitting screens on April 27, Judging Matters features a courtroom complete with a judge, a plaintiff, an accused, a bailiff, as well as a studio audience.

People will present their real-life problems to Justice Olusola Williams, who will attempt to provide a solution. Nigerian lawyer and media personality Ebuka Obi-Uchendu plays the role of the bailiff.

Judging Matters will premiere on DStv channel 151 Africa Magic Showcase at 18.00 WAT next Monday.

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Plus TV Africa launches on DStv

Plus TV Africa, a 24-hour news channel, has premiered on MultiChoice-owned pay TV platform DStv.

The news network is now available on DStv channel 408 to customers on the Premium, Compact, Compact Plus, Confam and Yanga packages.

Plus TV Africa editor-in-chief Kayode Akintemi said: “Plus TV Africa is raising the bar in television news presentation and reportage on the continent, and it is a credible source of information in business, politics, history, youth engagement, sports, entertainment and much more.

“With a team of broadcast professionals that are young, talented, creative, dynamic and passionate about Africa, the continent is in for an amazing new style of reporting, analysis and storytelling, focusing on big stories.”

MultiChoice Nigeria CEO John Ugbe added: “DSTV is glad to have Plus TV Africa on its network; it will provide deep insight into news across Africa. We are very excited to add this channel to our repertoire, as it joins us at a most crucial time.

“Plus TV Africa will cater to a special audience, giving them deep insight into news and events across Africa.”

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DStv, GOtv expand content offerings

MultiChoice-owned pay TV platforms DStv and GOtv have re-organised their content offerings to help subscribers stay up to date with information regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

Africanews will now be available on GOtv Max and Plus, while educational channels Da Vinci and Mindset and kids’ entertainment net Cartoon Network  will be on DStv Access until the end of May to help engage young viewers.

Nickelodeon (Channel 305) has also been opened up to DStv Compact, Family and Access subscribers until April 14.

In addition, library sports content is being made more widely available. Select 4 will be opened to compact customers to re-live English Premier League football, while Select 5 will showcase past WWE content.

MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela said: “We have been in constant communication with health authorities such as the World Health Organisation and we will be rolling out Africa-wide public service announcements on Covid-19. It is important that all of us take heed of the announcements and advice from trusted experts so that we can look after our own health and that of our loved ones.

“In light of the disruptions to the school year in some markets, we are also working to provide access to the best available educational content, to help keep young minds stimulated and engaged.”

MultiChoice has also moved to reassure its staff during the pandemic. “We are taking great care for our staff during this time and have encouraged those that are able to work from home to do so,” said Mawela.

“In light of this, we have advised our customers that there may be a delay in our ability to attend to customer queries. However, we have a number of self-service and online platforms available, and we will do our best to sort out any issues they may have, timeously.”

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Africanews added to DStv, GOtv

Pan-African news channel Africanews has been made available on MultiChoice’s DStv and GOtv in more than 40 countries across Africa, including South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Angola.

Launched in 2016 from Pointe-Noire, Congo, the channel is a subsidiary of Euronews Groupnow. It now reaches 20 million homes across the continent, offering a range of programmes on culture, lifestyle, sport, business, travel and science and technology.

Euronews CEO Michael Peters said: “Amid the current Covid-19 crisis, Euronews and Africanews’ mission has never been so important: helping people access real-time, up-to-date information, empowering them to make sense of what’s going on in the world by presenting a diversity of viewpoints.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the MultiChoice group once again to offer their DStv and GOtv subscribers access to Africanews, after Euronews launched on DStv last November. Euronews and Africanews have always been recognised and valued for their fact-based impartial and independent newsgathering. In these times of uncertainty, millions of more people in Africa will now have access to these trusted sources of information.”

Yolisa Phahle, CEO MultiChoice Group Africa, added: “In these unprecedented times, the importance of having access to precise, reliable information becomes paramount for our customers and their families. We have increased access to news channels already, and the launch of Africanews confirms our commitment to doing all we can to provide the best possible service.”

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MultiChoice to drop ITV channel

Pay TV operator MultiChoice is to remove British entertainment channel ITV Choice from its offering at the end of May after five years on its DStv platform.

Although the channel stopped broadcasting across the Middle East and Asia in August 2019, it has continued to air in South Africa.

An ITV Choice spokesman said: “DStv has decided that ITV’s international TV channel, ITV Choice, will no longer be carried on the DStv platform in Africa from June 4, 2020. The ITV brand will continue as a video-on-demand service in other territories.”

The news follows the removal of A+E Networks UK channels Lifetime, History and Crime+Investigation from MultiChoice’s offering in October 2019.

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DStv Now service to stream online

MultiChoice’s DStv Now

Pay TV company MultiChoice is to offer live streaming of its DStv channels to almost all subscribers for three days from this Friday.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, DStv Compact, Compact Plus, Access and Family customers will be able to stream the channels via the DStv Now site or app.

All subscribers except for those on the EasyView package will have access to unlimited entertainment, news, documentary and sports content that is usually exclusively for DStv Premium customers.

The three-day initiative is an attempt to test whether MultiChoice servers can handle a large influx of DStv viewers logging in and using the streaming platform for concurrent live streams. Last year, the service crashed during the final season of Game of Thrones and some Rugby World Cup matches.

MultiChoice plans to introduce a streaming version of its DStv service that is similar to DStv Now, with the launch expected soon.

In November 2019, MultiChoice’s connected video CEO, Niclas Ekdahl, said the company hoped to have the standalone DStv Now service ready by the end of this month.

“I think the stuff that we’ve done on DStv Now in the past 12 months is actually bringing us much closer to saying, ‘Yeah, this is a service I can stand behind’, and that this is going to be delivering a seamless user journey for our consumers,” Ekdahl said.

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MultiChoice lays off 1,000-plus staff

Pay TV company MultiChoice has let go of more than 1,000 employees in its call centres and walk-in customer service sites in a bid to restructure its customer service delivery model.

 

The news comes after the company revealed it intended to retrench more than 2,000 of its staff in June last year.

MultiChoice had said that DStv subscribers were not fully utilizing the MultiChoice call centres while the walk-in customer service centres had fewer customer visits.

The company said it has shed just over 1 000 workers who accepted voluntary severance packages. Another 1,000 decided to accept various positions within the company’s structure.

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DStv launches new WWE channel

African sports broadcaster SuperSport and WWE have extended their partnership to include a dedicated WWE channel on DStv offering a live weekly broadcast in more than 50 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Gideon Khobane

The new 24/7 channel will launch on January 1, 2020 and will feature shows including Raw, SmackDown, NXT and premium WWE programming such as 205 Live, Ride Along, WWE Chronicle and Table for 3.

Gideon Khobane, chief executive of SuperSport, said: “The fans of the WWE universe asked for it and we are delighted to deliver. WWE programming has proven to be compelling content with riveting storylines and insane action, which our viewers absolutely love. This is a big step and a great start to the new year.”

Stefan Kastenmüller, WWE’s senior VP and group general manager, EMEA, added: “SuperSport is a valued partner who shares our approach to engaging and entertaining our fans. We are thrilled to expand our partnership with a new 24/7 WWE channel which will super-serve our passionate fans in the region.”

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MultiChoice unveils new packages

Pay TV company MultiChoice Group has introduced five new bouquet packages on its DStv and GOtv platforms to help strengthen its family offering In preparation for the festive season.

The new bouquets include DStv Confam, which has over 120 channels, DStv Yanga (94 channels), DStv Padi (51 channels), GOtv Jolli (68 channels) and GOtv Jinja (47 channels).

Starting from December 1, customers will have the option to choose from any of the bouquet packages that have been exclusively and specially curated for the Nigerian market.

John Ugbe, CEO of MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “The introduction of the new packages is highly customised for Nigerians to unlock new levels of entertainment and value.

“We are constantly driven to ensure that customers are satisfied with the overall quality of our services. The new packages are exclusively curated from Naija and for Nigerians, driven by great programming and affordable prices. With improved package options available to our valued customers, they can choose a subscription plan that best fits their needs and budget.”

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MultiChoice launches holiday specials

Pay TV service provider MultiChoice Nigeria has devised a brand campaign for its customers on the DStv and GOtv platforms to enable them to enjoy more curated contents this festive season.

The campaigns are themed Happier with DStv and Make Time for Family with Gotv. Customers will be able to watch Nigeria festivals such as AFRIMA 2019, Unusual Praise, The Experience, Calabar Carnival, Akwa Ibom Christmas Concert, Miss Africa and Greater Lagos on both DStv 198 & GOtv 29.

Martin Mabutho, chief customer officer at MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “We continue to put our customers at the heart of everything we do. That’s why customers on DStv and GOtv will experience specially curated content, surprise pop-up channels and other top-notch value-added services.

“DStv and GOtv customers will be spoilt for choice with the hottest content and a happier holiday season. Customers can also look forward to Africa’s premier boxing Fiesta, GOtv Boxing Night, which is coming up on December 28 on SuperSport. Also, all Premier League, El Classico and more live sports with expert commentary and analysis on SuperSport this festive.

“In addition, much-loved kids’ pop up channel Animania opens on December 4 and will be the perfect companion for DStv kids this season, with the best animated movies all day and every day. Animania is exclusive to M-Net Smile (channel 105) on DStv Premium.”

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DStv adds three factual channels

MultiChoice-owned pay TV operator DStv has added three factual channels to its line-up.

Yolisa Phahle

The new networks are CBS Justice, which will replace A+E Networks UK’s Crime + Investigation channel; factual entertainment net CuriosityStream, which was launched by Discovery founder John Hendricks; and Euronews, which returns to the platform it left a few years ago.

MultiChoice general entertainment CEO Yolisa Phahle said: “We’re thrilled to finally announce the launch of these channels that will expand the line-up of new programming for our DStv customers to enjoy.

“CuriosityStream will give our viewers informative entertainment that the family can enjoy together, and it’s with great pride that we are able to launch CBS Justice, a new true crime channel which is part of the CBS AMC Networks EMEA portfolio of channels. We’re also delighted to expand our viewers’ choice of news and actuality programming with Euronews.”

CuriosityStream will feature factual programming including original and exclusive films and series, with titles ranging from Deep Time History and The History of Food to Age of Big Cats and Breakthrough.

CBS Justice will feature a curated selection of original and acquired programming, including original productions The Real Prime Suspect, Donal MacIntyre’s Murder Files, Secrets of a Psychopath and Evidence of Evil; plus acquisitions Cold Justice, Fame Kills and Stalker.

Clint Stinchcomb, president and CEO of CuriosityStream, said: “CuriosityStream is thrilled to premiere on DStv, collaborating with MultiChoice as our inaugural bundled distribution partner in Africa. Viewers are hungry for high-quality, engaging and entertaining factual shows, and CuriosityStream is proud to offer our channel to this important media market.”

Louise Cottrell, senior VP, affiliate partnerships for AMC Networks International UK, added: “This new launch highlights the growing demand for true crime content in the region, and we are thrilled to offer MultiChoice’s DStv customers exclusive access to authentic documentaries and series for the first time on CBS Justice.”

Carolyn Gibson, chief revenue officer at Euronews, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with DStv to reach even more households on the African continent.”

 

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DStv retains A+E Networks channels

MultiChoice Group’s pay TV operator DStv has announced it will no longer remove two A+E Networks EMEA channels from its platform.

Yolisa Phahle

The History and Lifetime channels will remain but Crime + Investigation has been cut off.

MultiChoice CEO Mark Rayner revealed the group has signed a new multi-year contract. “We’ve reached an agreement with A+E Networks for terms that we think are acceptable to our DStv subscribers for both History and Lifetime, but Crime + Investigation is still ending,” he said.

“Two further channels from another provider will be announced before the middle of November as a replacement for Crime + Investigation, as well as another factual documentary channel. We’re just finalising technical launch plans so that we can be clear on a launch date.”

Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO for general entertainment, added: “We are excited to have reached this agreement as it allows us to ensure we meet our commitment to get the best programming for our customers, based on commercial terms that make sense and provide a value for money offering to customers. We are pleased that Lifetime will also now be available to our Compact package customers.

“We appreciate our customers’ patience and feedback and have their best interests in mind as we continue to work hard to improve our entertainment offering.”

“We are pleased to have agreed a long-term renewal of our flagship brands, History and Lifetime, in Africa with our partner DStv. As part of this renewal, the new distribution of Lifetime in Compact presents an exciting opportunity to reach millions of new viewers with our unique programming offering”, said Dean Possenniskie, MD of A+E Networks EMEA.

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DStv to drop A+E Networks channels

MultiChoice Group’s pay TV platform DStv is set to lose three channels after carriage renewal talks with network operator A+E Networks broke down.

DStv subscribers in South Africa and across the continent will no longer have access to History, Crime+Investigation and Lifetime channels after the carriage contract was not renewed.

The channels carry programmes including Surviving R Kelly, Forged in Fire, American Pickers, Curse of Oak Island, Damien Lewis Spy Wars, The First 48, Homicide Hunter, Married at First Sight, Little Women, Lost Gold of World War 2, Watergate, Treasures Decoded, Crime Stories SA, Don’t Tell the Bride SA and Loved Like Crazy.

The agreement was last renewed in mid-2016 but this time the two companies have failed to negotiate a new deal over the channels, which have aired for 16, 11 and five years respectively.

In a statement, DStv said: “As part of our ongoing efforts to refresh our content line-up and optimise the suite of channels on offer, MultiChoice Group will be saying goodbye to the History, Crime+Investigation and Lifetime channels on its DStv platform at the end of the current contract term.

“The current contract expires on November 1. Viewers will, however, be able to continue enjoying some favourites such as the Housewives franchise, which is already available on 1 Magic.”

Meanwhile, MultiChoice has announced the introduction of two new channels that will show programmes similar to those that aired on the three networks that it will lose.

“We will soon be announcing the introduction of two new channels to DStv. The first is an established global brand and the other a new innovative brand. Both channels will bring exciting new titles and genres that viewers will enjoy, including others blue-chip documentaries, history and factual reality shows. In addition, we continue to increase our significant investment in local shows and content, which have great resonance with customers and are a key driver of engagement,” the statement adds.

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MultiChoice ends DStv Select

Pay TV operator MultiChoice Group has informed its subscribers it will discontinue the DStv Select service from October 29 and will migrate them to the DStv Family package.

In a statement it said: “DStv is continuously reviewing its content line-up, packaging structure and pricing to ensure that customers have access to the best fresh content at great value. As a result, we will be discontinuing some packages and re-directing customers to the main packages where the same programmes and channels can be found.”

The company stopped selling DStv Select packages in April 2013 and replaced it with DStv Family, while existing subscribers who chose to stay with the package because it included access to Afrikaans channel KykNET were allowed to continue using it as long as they were not inactive for more than three months.

“Your favourite channels are, however, still available on our various other packages,” the company said.

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