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In 1986, South African mass media company Naspers (along with several other South African media companies) formed the entertainment entity known as M-Net. In October 1993, M-Net was divided into two companies – one dealing with the delivery of entertainment channels, the other oversaw subscriber management, signal distribution, and cellphone operations.
MultiChoice South Africa grew out of this subscriber management division. Today it’s the leading video entertainment operator in the country and services just over five million subscribers. In the late 80s, M-Net embarked on a drive to expand its operations beyond the borders of South Africa.
Its founder, Koos Bekker, wanted the company to position itself as a progressive pan-African entity. The breakthrough came when they were awarded a license in Namibia in 1991, quickly followed by a host of other countries. MultiChoice Africa came into being in 1996 and currently services over four million subscribers.
Operations and brands
MultiChoice South Africa is based in Randburg. The company sources channels from around the world, as well as channels produced in South Africa, which are put into packages to suit a variety of viewing tastes and pockets.
One of the company’s brands is DStv. This pay-TV service provides customers with channels that cover: general entertainment, movies, lifestyle and culture, sport, documentaries, news and commerce, music, religion and more. DStv packages range from EasyView (entry-level) to Premium (top-tier), as well as niche packages for the Indian and Portuguese communities. DStv also offers great value-added services such as DStv Mobile, DStv Catch Up and BoxOffice.
In 2016, MultiChoice SA launched GOtv. The service had previously been available in various African countries and was brought to South Africa on the back of a requirement – initiated by the Minister of Communications – for analogue television to migrate to DTT (digital terrestrial television). GOtv delivers content via network towers, rather than by satellite, and is available on two packages at affordable price points.
MultiChoice South Africa constantly seeks to enhance its customers' viewing experience. The company has a long history of introducing cutting-edge technology, such as the dual-view decoder, the DStv Explora PVR, high-definition channels and mobile television.
MultiChoice Africa is based in South Africa and provides multi-channel pay-TV and subscriber management services in 48 countries across sub-Sahara Africa and the adjacent Indian Ocean islands. MultiChoice Africa’s digital DStv service features over 200 video channels and up to 65 audio channels with a strong focus on local content. As a video entertainment company that constantly evolves in line with the world’s best technologies, MultiChoice Africa played an important role in making information and entertainment easily accessible. As an African business, investments have brought both social and economic benefits to the communities where they operate through job opportunities, partnerships and training.
The full list of brands that fall under MultiChoice are:
DStv – MultiChoice's digital satellite TV service which offers various packages and consumer channels, accessible on a variety of platforms.
M-Net – One of the first private subscription TV service to launch outside of the United States, M-Net delivers premium thematic channels and exclusive content to all DStv customers.
SuperSport – SuperSport sources sports content from federations and license holders, and also funds sports development across Africa. SuperSport packages this content into complete channels, for broadcasting by companies such as MultiChoice.
DStv Media Sales – Handles commercial airtime sales and on-air sponsorship across M-Net, SuperSport and the majority of the DStv international channels. Airtime is sold on over 70 pay-TV commercial channels, in addition to the two terrestrial M-Net channels.
DStv Digital Media – Marries video and internet to offer customers the best possible entertainment experience. DStv Digital Media also provide a range of popular services through the following websites: DStv.com, SuperSport.com, m-net.dstv.com, VUZU.tv and AfricanFilmLibrary.com.
MWEB – South Africa’s second largest Internet Service Provider (ISP). Other than data, MWEB supply VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), network security, email and cloud-based services, ADSL and 3G.
GOtv South Africa and Lesotho – This low-cost digital terrestrial television service offers two packages of great family entertainment at a price everyone can afford.
2016 Launch of GOtv in South Africa
2015 Launch of GOtv in Lesotho
2014 Launch of DStv Digital Media (DStv Mobile + DStv Online). Launch of Connected Services. Launch of DStv Now
2013 Launch of DStv Explora decoder
2012 DStv Mobile launches the iDrifta and the Walka 7
2011 Drifta launched. GOtv launched on DTT network in Zambia. Walka launched. Streaming mobile TV services launched. DStv BoxOffice launch
2010 DStv On Demand service launched on HD PVR 2P
2009 HD channels launched (SuperSport, Discovery and National Geographic Channel)
2008 Launch of HD PVR and XtraView. DStv Mobile launches broadcast services onto TV-enabled phones
2007 Launch of DStv Select and also entry-level bouquet DStv EasyView
2006 MultiChoice launches BBBEE share scheme, Phuthuma Nathi
2005 Launch of DTT in Namibia. Launch of DStv PVR decoder DStv Compact launched. DStv Premium subscribers in South Africa reach the one million mark
2004 Launch of SESAT satellite for French and Portuguese bouquets
2003 Launch of Dual View decoders
2002 Launch of Interactive Television
2001 Launch of Indian and Portuguese bouquet
2000 Ethiopia and Mozambique franchises launched
1999 Migration of the entire subscriber base from PAS4 to PAS7 satellite
1998 Angola franchise launched
1997 Tanzania joint venture launched. Malawi franchise launched. MWEB founded
1996 MultiChoice Ltd changes its name to MIH Holdings Limited (MIH). MultiChoice Africa (Pty) Ltd is formed
1995 Kenya, Zambia joint ventures launched. Zimbabwe franchise launched. Start of Greek TV platform (MultiChoice Hellas)
1994 Nigeria joint venture launched
1993 Botswana and Ghana joint venture launched. MultiChoice is formed when the customer services divisions split from M-Net
1992 Namibia joint venture launched
1991 M-Net awarded first African licenses in Namibia and Botswana
1990 M-Net lists on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)
1989 SuperSport launched
1985 Africa’s first pay TV channel, M-Net, launched