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DStv blocks new movie channel from subscribers

2013-11-08 13:54
Cape Town – MultiChoice is adding the MGM movie channel to DStv as part of four further channel additions but will be blocking MGM from its DStv Premium subscribers in what is described as an "unprecedented" move.

For the first time ever the South African satellite pay-TV platform will not be making a newly added TV channel available to its most expensive DStv Premium bouquet.

When TV channels are added to lower-tiered DStv packages, MultiChoice has always followed the "sell-through" strategy where non-premium channels are automatically made available to subscribers who pay more to get either all the available content or fall in higher channel brackets.

On 12 November MultiChoice will add the library channels CBS Drama and CBS Action from Chello Zone to DStv, with programming from CBS’s television library. MultiChoice is also adding the preschool channel JimJam which has been available on On Digital Media’s (ODM) TopTV the past three years.

MGM used to be on DStv when the platform started but was removed. MGM returned to South Africa with movies from the famous studio’s movie vault when ODM added it to TopTV in May 2010.

MGM kept from premium subscribers

The iconic lion will however not be roaring for DStv Premium subscribers. MultiChoice responded to a media enquiry on Thursday about the blocked MGM movie channel and says DStv Premium is not getting MGM because those subscribers have already seen the movies. It’s not clear whether MultiChoice is referring to brand-new, recent, or to longtime customers.

"As MGM contains library content that has already been seen by our Premium customers, a decision was made not to include this channel on the Premium package," says MultiChoice.

MultiChoice confirmed that it’s the first time that DStv won’t allow a movie channel available on its channel line-up for its high-end customers. "It is correct that this is the first time. Our Premium customers complained about the channels being added that repeat shows or movies they’ve already seen."

Asked whether future channels might now also go missing on the DStv Premium package, MultiChoice confirms the new practice of possibly blocking channels, saying the pay-TV operator will "evaluate this on a case by case basis. This is about offering our customers the best entertainment available."

'Situation is unprecedented'

The TV critic Tashi Tagg and editor-in-chief of the influential TVSA website which broke the news of the new channel additions on Wednesday told Channel24 in a media enquiry made on Thursday, that MultiChoice blocking DStv Premium customers from getting MGM is "nonsensical and unfair" and saying "the situation is unprecedented".

"It's like ordering a Supersize meal at McDonalds and not getting condiments when the regular meals do!

"DStv Premium subscribers have always been under the impression that they’re paying to get everything. Now suddenly this sets a precedent that DStv Premium subscribers can’t trust that they’re going to get everything in the future. What other channels won’t they get in the future?" asked Tagg.

She said that the situation "could also imply that the MGM channel’s so bad DStv doesn’t want to foist it off on premium subscribers.

"Considering the fact that DStv Premium subscribers get Tellytrack this says a lot about the channel – which ultimately makes it an insult to subscribers of other bouquets. Either way it’s a problem for DStv subscribers."

It’s not yet clear if DStv subscribers will be taking action over blocked content. In July furious DStv subscribers started a petition after changes to new DStv channels supplied by M-Net suddenly meant that DStv subscribers were no longer getting certain TV series on their specific bouquets. Following the furore and online petition, the pay-TV operator made content changes.

Read more on:    dstv  |  multichoice  |  tv
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