MultiChoice Group has decided to carry competing streaming television services on its upcoming Explora personal video recorder (PVR) decoder because the broadcaster wants to position itself as a “super aggregator” of content.
That’s according to chief financial officer Tim Jacobs, who said in an interview with TechCentral on Wednesday evening that as more and more studios go directly to consumers, it is becoming increasingly frustrating those consumers to pick content packages and pay for them.
TechCentral reported on Wednesday that MultiChoice had signed agreements with Netflix and Amazon.com to offer the companies’ streaming services through its next-generation Explora PVR — expected to be an Internet-connected, 4K-capable set-top box.
In a presentation published on its website alongside its 2020 financial results, MultiChoice said in a section headlined “Further enhancements to customer experience — improve retention”, that it had signed the Explora content deals with Netflix and Amazon. The presentation suggested the services would be available as apps on the PVR.
But in his interview with TechCentral, Jacobs said the Netflix and Amazon names were there only as examples of international streaming companies. He said MultiChoice could only confirm that it has struck deals with two major subscription video-on-demand partners.
In TechCentral’s estimation, it’s almost certain that the companies it’s struck those deals with are, in fact, Netflix and Amazon, and that including them in the presentation was done by mistake.
“While we can generically talk about some deals that we’ve signed, we can’t actually talk about the specifics,” Jacobs said, adding that a full announcement will be made within the next week or two. “It’s very close to being launched.”
Explaining why MultiChoice would include competitor services on its platform – after all, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video compete head on with its own Showmax and DStv Now offerings – Jacobs said: “We are providing choice, simplicity and convenience to the subscriber.”
He explained that there is little overlap in terms of content between the services. Under this new model, customers can engage with MultiChoice and get access to its linear broadcasting and streaming services alongside international brands, “which bring their own unique content”.
“As more studios go direct to consumers, consumers have to make multiple choices about what content they get. They are having to do that individually. That’s not a nice user experience, to go through three or four different apps to get to the content,” Jacobs said. Instead, MultiChoice wants to position itself as a “super aggregator”, where it becomes the “go-to shop where you pick and choose what you want to watch in a very easy-to-access platform”.
This presumably means that the consumer’s billing relationship for services like Netflix and Prime Video will be with MultiChoice, though Jacobs declined to comment, citing confidentiality agreements ahead of the formal announcement. — © 2020 NewsCentral Media