South Africa-based MultiChoice Group this week revealed a partnership with Walt Disney Company Africa that sees the company include two ESPN channels to its DStv decoder from Wednesday, July 29, adding to its long list of content offerings available to viewers across the continent.
“As Africa’s leading video entertainment platform, we are unwavering in our commitment to ensure that we continue to find the best available content to delight our customers, both now and into the future,” Group chief executive Calvo Mawela said in a statement on the company’s website.
DStv subscribers will now have access to Disney-owned ESPN and ESPN2, both of which feature major American sport and popular leagues such as the National Basketball Association, National Football League, National Hockey League, and Major League Baseball.
The new channels also broadcast live European football from the English Football League, Scottish Premier Football League, Dutch Eredivisie, and Major League Soccer, as well as local sports including the West African Football Union, Cup of Nations, and boxing tournaments.
“We are thrilled to be bringing the achievements and triumphs of both international and local athletes, our quality storytelling and innovative programming to a whole new audience of sports fans in Africa,” said Christine Service, Disney Africa’s Senior President and Country Manager.
The latest deal points to an expansion of Multichoice’s partnership base. It comes on the heels of last month’s announcement that the company had signed partnership agreements with Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com to include over-the-top services – Netflix and Amazon Prime Video – on its new DStv Explora decoder, scheduled to roll out later this year.
The plan is to become a pay-TV super-aggregator and a content “one-stop-shop” that will carry even more such third-party services in the future. “It is where we see the opportunity to continue our aggregator journey,” MultiChoice Group chairperson Imtiaz Patel said in an investors’ call last month after releasing the 2019/2020 financial results.
While the leading entertainment group forges ahead with its goal through the introduction of new product offerings and partnerships, the company continues to face scrutiny from subscribers and the government in its largest market on the continent – Nigeria – over its supposed expensive subscription service.
Multichoice, owners of DStv and GOtv, has since the turn of the year faced at least two probes by Nigerian lawmakers, who accuse the company of cheating its Nigerian subscribers by restricting them to prepaid plans and call for a pay-per-view subscription mode.