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In 1986, South African mass media company Naspers - a leading supporter of the Apartheid Afrikaner Nationalist Party - (along with several other South African media companies) formed the entertainment entity known as M-Net. Because of its support for Apartheid, Naspers through M-Net was given a monopoly of broadcasting satellite TV in South Africa. 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, Gauteng. 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
Africa’s largest television platform pulled a talk show after it asked questions about police brutality and media freedom in Zambia.
Multichoice was fingered in a greasing scandal involving ANN7 and the Gupta family.
- "Expanding into the African continent | The Media Online". themediaonline.co.za. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
- "MultiChoice entrenches its monopoly". Retrieved 2017-11-15.
- "Apartheid Inc, the story of Naspers, Media24 and Channel Life". Medialternatives. 2011-11-15. Retrieved 2017-11-15.