Aggregation by definition “is the formation of a number of things into a cluster”. The cluttered media landscape of 2020 is fertile ground for more-efficient clustering.
Media has evolved to meet three audience needs: being informed, being connected and being entertained. The overwhelming amount of news (being informed) and social media platforms (being connected) and content have already driven the rise of aggregators in an attempt to try and organise the audience experience. The result is a one-location solution that makes life a whole lot easier.
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In news, Feedly is my favourite for general news, particularly as it allows very sharp curation. Interest-specific platforms such as Metacritic have set the standard and are also hugely popular. In social media, there are a multitude of aggregators from Flockler to Taggbox and Tint.
Only a matter of time
So, it was only matter of time before aggregation became a thing in entertainment. Having it all in one location makes sense and the opportunity down the line to search for a movie or series in one place exciting.
The top end of the DStv subscriber base has been under pressure for a while and dropped from 1.6m to 1.5m in the year ending March 2020. April and May, with no live sport on SuperSport, must have hit it even harder.
However, it’s realistic about the limitations of growth in this market, which already has high fibre penetration and smart TV ownership. The growth is coming from openly encouraging sharing access to DStv Now with other family members and friends, even if not in the household. DStv Now adds another 1.5m unique users to the Premium offering.
The real opportunity
The real opportunity is in the Compact and Access market, where fibre and smart TVs aren’t prevalent. In this context, the MultiChoice deal with Netflix and Amazon makes a lot of sense for both parties. These markets are big and growing. The Compact market at end of March 2020 was 2.9m and the Access market 4m. For Netflix and Amazon, they know they would struggle to break into this valuable, almost 7m-large market with these physical barriers in place. For Multichoice, it wants to make sure that there’s sustainable long-term loyalty of these subscribers.
The solution will be a new decoder with a DStv, Netflix and Amazon Prime button. The details of how this will be costed haven’t been revealed yet but expect further smart pricing solutions.
Suddenly, the future of DStv isn’t precariously tied up only in sports rights but as the entertainment aggregator for more than 8m consumers. Ever since Google, it seems whoever aggregates best wins the race.
Martin MacGregor (@MartMacG) has been managing director of Connect, the M&C Saatchi media agency with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town, since 2012. He has spent 22 years in the industry, having previously worked at Ogilvy and been MD of Nota Bene (now Wavemaker) in Cape Town. Martin contributes the regular “Media Redefined” column, in which he challenges norms in the media space, to MarkLives.com.