MultiChoice branches out from entertainment with acquisition of panic button app Namola

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Canal+ has not wasted any time to increase its stake in Multichoice.
Photo: Gallo Images
Canal+ has not wasted any time to increase its stake in Multichoice. Photo: Gallo Images
  • MultiChoice says it is evolving beyond video entertainment in order to offer its customers a wider range of digital services.
  • The acquisition of Namola by MultiChoice is the first of its kind by the company, which listed on the JSE in 2019.
  • Its digital device, DStv Streama, which is an aggregator of streaming services, will launch in October.
  • Get the biggest business stories emailed to you every weekday, or go to the News24 Business front page.

MultiChoice has acquired its first non-entertainment business, emergency response app Namola, which offers users a platform to rapidly share their location with emergency responders.

Once dubbed the 'Uber for police', the app was developed by Craig Rivett and initially piloted in Pretoria in 2015 before going national in 2017. The move by the group to bulk up its value proposition comes amid pressure from a surge in new streaming services, while elevated inflation and rising interest rates have been cutting into the spending power of its market.

"Namola is part of our strategy to expand our ecosystem beyond entertainment and to offer a suite of consumer services that meet the needs of our customers," Nyiko Shiburi, CEO of MultiChoice SA says.

Namola enables users to call the nearest vetted private or public security and medical response unit to their location, and DStv customers can add the Namola subscription to their monthly DStv bill.

Namola's addition to the business stable of the JSE-listed pay-TV operator is one of several developments unveiled by the company during its annual showcase on Thursday evening.

The company said it was "evolving its offering to deliver value to its customers, beyond video entertainment".

"It is about offering an integrated digital ecosystem where customers can access a suite of services that meet their unique needs."

READ | Panic button app Namola goes national

DStv will debut its digital box next month, DStv Streama, as it slashes prices of its streaming packages on its platform by as much as 17%.

The launch of the streaming device, which  had been delayed by supply challenges including the shortage chips, offers services streaming services such as Showmax, Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, YouTube and YouTube Kids in one platform.

The Streama device is part of MultiChoice's move of becoming a super aggregator of content as the market embraces streaming services which are dominated by international companies. Unlike the regular DStv service, the new device does not require a satellite dish, just an internet connection. 

"Although we continue to invest significantly in our video entertainment business, we are also targeting select segments that are adjacent to our core business,” says Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice Group Chief Executive.

DStv Streams will be available from 1 October. DStv has seen a decline in its Premium subscriber count as competition heats up and consumers rethink their monthly spending patterns.

From March 2021 to March 2022, DStv 90-day active premium subscribers dipped 4%, from the 8% reported in the previous reporting segment.

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