According to a BBC Monitoring report South African pan-regional broadcaster MultiChoice/DStv is losing “hundreds of thousands of dollars a year” because of signal piracy by Zimbabwean users of a pirate set-top box. The device, sold locally as the ‘Magic Box’ manages to decrypt DStv’s channels.
Satellite decoder dealers say the Magic Box has been around since early last year, selling for an average of 120, and one can access the full bouquet without any interruption. The DStv full bouquet costs $73 a month.
“We buy the decoders from Dubai and China, but there are some cheaper ones coming from Botswana,” said a local satellite installer, to technology newsletter Balancing Act News, which covers African matters. Those that are coming from Botswana are a result of a massive campaign by Botswana’s MultiChoice to block Magic Box from pirating the signal early this year.
Zimbabwe is already one of world’s worst offenders for TV signal piracy, with an estimated 92 percent of homes using local decoders to view South African signals, in particular those of SABC.