VF! helping DSTV market the Explorer

Digital entertainment surged during Covid-19

Digital technology experienced an inevitable yet unprecedented surge due to Covid-19. By May 2020, a global lockdown saw 200 countries around the world reliant on internet-based services for work, communication, interaction and shopping. In one fell swoop, digital communication became the biggest source of information and entertainment.

However, the initial attraction of working from home, and homeschooling, quickly lost its veneer. Humans are social creatures by nature, constantly seeking stimulation, so an organic demand for digital products and services arose. This behaviour created an opportunity for high tech businesses to provide quality services, 24/7, ahead of their competitors.

Ironically, as the film production industry spiralled downward, digital home entertainment services surged. Clubhouse, the live audio, invite-only app launched in April 2020, gained 600 000 users by December 2020 and the Disney+ app logged 73.7 million subscribers to its streaming service at year-end.

The fourth industrial revolution was not only taking shape but gaining traction.

On the home front, MultiChoice South Africa launched the DStv Explorer Ultra in December 2020,9 months into the national coronavirus lockdown.

As Africa’s largest and leading entertainment company, MultiChoice creates and secures the rights to global content delivered Direct To Home (DTH), via Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and through online video entertainment services. Their entertainment platforms, DStv, GOtv, Showmax and DStv Now, boasted approximately 14 million subscribers across 50 African countries.

The DStv Explorer Ultra combined the latest technology in pay-TV with internet streaming apps, Netflix and Prime Video. The delivery of this unprecedented innovative tool gave subscribers seamless access to all the shows and movies directly from their decoder using only the DStv remote device.

When DStv approached us to launch their latest offering, we conducted rigorous shopper research to gain insight into how lockdown had affected buying patterns, and to gauge how tech-savvy the buying market had become.


These five key insights revealed that shoppers:

– Wanted accessibility to the brand in their environment.

– Needed a shopping space to be product relevant.

– Were list-driven as time away from home was limited and needed to be utilised efficiently.

– Went on fact-finding missions to destination shops.

– Equipped themselves with information and sought expert advice.


Our research also revealed the challenges that the brand and customers experienced with the current DStv setups at MultiChoice Walk-In stores and in retail outlets like Pick ‘n Pay, Makro, Game.

– Only existing customers visited MultiChoice walk-in stores.

– Only customers seeking solutions to account or service issues visited walk-in stores.

– Staff at walk-in stores weren’t perceived as tech-experts. Consumers saw satellite installation companies as better equipped to offer advice.

– Specialised sales staff weren’t easily identifiable at walk-in stores.

– Retail stockists either lacked expert consultants, or those present spent an average of 9 minutes with a customer.


To address the client brief, we needed to think outside the box.

So we did just that and took the new DStv Ultra Explorer to the shopper.

We piloted two MultiChoice DStv pods in Bayside Mall, Cape Town and Menlyn Park Mall, Gauteng.

These targeted locations allowed convenient access for shoppers who were there for essential shopping dictated by lockdown thereby creating impulse engagement. Furthermore, kiosks were safer and easier to sanitise, accessible relevant to the task at hand, and more relaxing

The ultra-sleek, organic shapes created a high-tech visual aesthetic while welcoming decor features replicated a full, home environment immersion.

Above all, the pods were serviced by experienced DStv consultants who were qualified and available to offer time and expert advice to an already informed and tech-savvy shopper.

Lockdown and the subsequent demand for technological excellence taught us that the new generation of home entertainment viewers is looking for accessibility, ease, choice and above all, quality, face-to-face experiences. Even in this advanced digital age, the future of retail is human.

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