DStv's ill-timed response to the launch of TOP TV has boomeranged on them. And that response - in effect a confession that it has been taking South African viewers for a very expensive ride for a very long time - has propelled the launch of TOP TV to the front pages of print media nation-wide. TOP TV could not have asked for a better start.
1. Affordable Pay TV
The launch and DStv's response made affordable pay TV headlines all over the country. Suddenly the choice was not only DStv and MNet but 24 channels of international entertainment at a very affordable price. Top TV Channels include Fox Entertainment, Fine Living Network, MGM, Discovery Travel & Living, Showtime, Discovery Science, BBC World, Fuel TV and Fox FX and a whole host of others. This is good value for money and will attract thousands of subscribers. The DStv response was immediate with DStv Light offering a R99 subscription for 25 (ha-ha) channels. The DStv strategy forces everybody to relook the pay TV options. It is actually pathetic of DStv and a clear acknowledgement that they screwed the South African consumer for years by just offering one bouquet.
2. Breaking the monopoly
Monopolies breed arrogance and DStv has likely made enough enemies over the years to supply TOP TV with a flow of advertisements by advertisers who got fed up with DStv's attitude. Its raping of popular programmes with continuous ad breaks will surely be a contributing factor. TOP TV will also provide reasonable rates in the beginning to lure advertisers and to build a loyal support base of advertisers before DStv get their act together.
3. Business Model
The business model is essentially the same as the commercially successful DStv model. Subscription fees plus advertising revenue. If they can convince enough people to buy the new affordable bouquet their subscriptions can carry them through the rough and tumble of the first year, because DStv is not finished yet and will throw more strategies at them in the near future.
4. Target audience
The core support of DStv, however, is Afrikaans speaking households, hence the success of KykNet and Super Sport. TOP TV can appeal to a broader audience into which they can tap. But they will have to address the sport issue as a matter of urgency, especially local sport. DStv has virtually sewn it up during its monopoly against a most lethargic SABC sport department, its only competitor. But the Super Sport broadcasting contracts will come up for renewal in the not too distant future and the bidding process will be interesting.
TOP TV is equipped with the latest HD technology while DStv is presently in the grip of the painful conversion process. This will give Top TV the opportunity to lure subscribers away from DStv as they have the new technology in place already. In addition, the TOP TV decoder comes at an affordable R499 against the DStv HD PVR cost of a whopping R3 000. Which does not leave the new subscriber with much of a choice.
* DStv obviously thinks it holds a trump card with the 1 and 2 sport channels featuring rugby and cricket. It excludes those two channels from all its new bouquets. Rugby and cricket fans are thus punished, forcing them to go for the premium, old DStv package at the exorbitant fee of well over 500 smackers if they want to view their favourite sport. It will be sweet revenge for them once the tables are turned on DStv...
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