How DStv sold Mzansi Magic viewers down The River

Written by Tashi from the blog Tashi's TV on 30 Oct 2019
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When DStv makes you feel like The River's Lindiwe.

DStv's infuriating channel confusion crap plunged to an all time low this week with the start of the re-run of The River on Mzansi Magic on Monday. Bah!! - what a mess.

It's wrong in so many ways, and so irrational and mean.

Yes, it gives Compact viewers an opportunity to see The River BUT they should never have been deprived of it in the first place.

As TVSA member Tman_1 said after hearing the news of its re-run:

I agree 1000%!

It's totally unacceptable and not only to Compact viewers who've been left behind so disrespectfully but to Premium and Compact Plus viewers too. They're paying top dollar for their subscriptions and now they have dead time from 19h00 every night of the week on what was supposed to be DStv's flagship local channel.

Remember when Mzansi Magic first started in 2010?... it was the place for cutting edge South African productions, at the forefront of new shows and exciting projects.

And then suddenly the channel and its viewers weren't good enough anymore.

Enter 1Magic on Premium in January 2018 and Mzansi Magic viewers became second class viewers, never knowing whether new South African productions would air for them or not.

The mentality of: "You see it first / second / third / don't see it at all," has pervaded DStv across various channels over the years and what's happening with 1Magic and Mzansi Magic is insane.


Various shows regularly start on 1Magic two to three days before Mzansi Magic but not even the actors in them seem to know this! Everyone hypes up the Mzansi Magic run as if it doesn't even exist on 1Magic, yet it does, so these shows exist in two dissociated dimensions.

Then there are those shows that screen exclusively on 1Magic with no explanation as to why e.g. Grassroots that may or may not ever air on Mzansi Magic. 

And don't get me started on the Being Bonangs and Real Housewives of Joziburg that ended up on Mzansi Magic a year after their first screening on 1Magic.

There is no point! NO-one cares anymore.

Reality TV is about here and now, and by the time they re-run on Mzansi Magic, they're beyond old and dated.

NOT an image the celebrities and reality personalities in the shows want to convey and yet it's what's happening to them because their shows aren't fresh anymore by the time they reach Mzansi Magic.

In a nutshell: Mzansi Magic was sold as being the hip and happening place before the arrival of 1Magic - it was the place for trendy local and now it's been kicked aside after being used to sign-up subscribers who want South African shows.

The aftershock

It's madness to do this because it remains DStv's most popular channel, consistently dominating the DStv Top 30 list.

But Moja Love's in the Top 30 now too and it's available to more people, so Mzansi Magic can't afford to be arrogant about its viewership status.

The reality shows such as Being Bonang and Real Housewives never appear in the Top 30 and even if The River does next month, the handling of it is still a major problem.

Clearly no-one considered the implications of what would happen on social media when you have a nightly show airing on two different channels with episodes over a year apart, all with the same hashtag. It's so "Duh!!" it's mind-bending.

I see that some people who've seen it on 1Magic or Showmax are posting spoilers on Twitter for those who are only watching it now. Obviously this was going to happen.

It's creating a radical divide between those on Premium and those on Compact, which sucks in the  strictest sense of the word.

It's very distressing because South Africans have been forced to be so divided in the past, we shouldn't be divided anymore and yet this is doing just that, establishing a perception of "the haves versus the have nots". 

This is the very opposite to how things are moving globally when it comes to delivery of programming, especially in the streaming space e.g. when you pay for Netflix you have access to everything available on it in your country. The packages vary according to technological features and not which shows are on them.

This is the way of the future.This is Now. In this modern age where information becomes old the second it's out there, it's a very bad and mad business plan to have a strategy based on dated content.

How to fix it

I believe the solution is for DStv to ditch Premium, Compact-Plus and Compact and to create one package (at the Compact price) that has all available channels on it, except for sport.

It would serve the channels well because they would have access to the majority of DStv viewers and therefore more advertising revenue and clout.

They can retain the packages beneath Compact (e.g. Family) to keep the service affordable for as many people as possible and they can make the sports channels odd-ons that subscribers pay extra for.

Of course the ideal would be for subscribers to choose their own channels but DStv are always banging on about this being unfeasible financially, saying it would cost subscribers too much.

If this is true, what other solution is there?

At the very least Mzansi Magic and 1Magic must become one channel!

Your thoughts and feelings? What's to be done?

Channels in this post: Mzansi Magic, 1Magic, Moja Love


30 Oct 2019 15:45

It's so annoying how the Ferguson and Bomb production monopolizing the entire Mzansi channel, what happened to Sifun'kwazi, Bounce etc ?. The other annoying part is that the actors will not even get a cents for repeat on primetime slot

30 Oct 2019 18:10

You're absolutely right Goku about Bomb and Fergusons. It's gotten to a point for me where I check the production company before watching a show. Dstv is doing to Mzansi Magic what they did to Vuzu and VEntertainment. By the time they wake up, it'll be too late - if it isn't already

01 Nov 2019 13:07

They can retain the packages beneath Compact (e.g. Family) to keep the service affordable for as many people as possible and they can make the sports channels odd-ons that subscribers pay extra for.
This is what I have been wishing for all these years Tashi. And net vir daai ding, I will never subscribe to Premium mina shem.

I like that Lindiwe meme there, so funny. But on the real though, I have made a decision I will not watch The River on 1 Magic because it is dated content and we basically have an idea of what will happen next. So really, it serves no point to bring the show there. Why can't we be on compact and have add on channels for ourselves vele because clearly we do not watch all the channels they want us to watch as this totally depends on one's interests!

The other annoying part is that the actors will not even get a cents for repeat on primetime slot
This is the most painful part and the reason why Vatiswa Ndara decided to go public about the unfairness of it all and how they are being exploited by the likes of Mzansi Magic and others

04 Nov 2019 08:24

I predict again that 1Magic will be defunct by this time next year.    

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