Does Lockdown Boost TV and Online Subscription and Viewership?


With almost everyone homebound, television and online media platforms are among territories least impacted by COVID-19. Just last week, Netflix announced that almost 16 million people created accounts in the first three months of the year. That is almost double the new sign-ups the streaming service saw in the final months of 2019.

There has since been additional information that suggests that subscriber counts are also on the rise in the face of all the lockdowns. However, for reasons of housekeeping, the Corporate Affairs Manager at MultiChoice Botswana, Thembile Legwaila, cannot say whether there has been a surge in subscriptions and viewership since early March when the lockdown in Botswana began.

“MultiChoice Group entered a closed period on 31 March in preparation for the release of their annual results in June,” Legwaila said. “We are therefore not able to answer questions related to subscriber numbers and product take-up.”

However, she told The Botswana Gazette in an interview that DStv remains committed to supporting Batswana in their homes with the best available programming to keep themselves and their families informed and entertained. There are educational channels for students to keep their young minds stimulated and engaged.

Legwaila said MultiChoice has added Btv to its bouquet and broadened news channels with CNN, Euronews, BBC and Aljazeera, among others, because access to reliable news is important during the lockdown.

For those who want to keep fit, the gym is coming to them through DStv with easy to follow workouts ranging from high intensity to more mindful, restorative practices that are broadcast daily on SuperSport Blitz at 8 am and 5 pm.

“The drama continues in telenovelas such as The River and The Queen on Mzansi Magic while those who like to binge-watch can enjoy back-to-back viewing of their favourite series such as Game of Thrones and Sex and the City on M-Net Binge,” Legwaila explained.

DStv recently launched the “We’ve Got You!” campaign giving active and disconnected customers the opportunity to pay for their current package and view the higher package at no extra cost. This equates to a 35% discount on the higher package and is their way of thanking loyal DStv customers for their continuous support.

“Through the MultiChoice Talent Factory, we launched an online learning portal that supports over 40 000 members of the creative industry to gain access to courses and online masterclasses, so they can continue to hone their craft whilst adhering to the public health measures of social distancing and isolation,” Legwaila added.