Consumer Watch

Wendy Knowler fights for your rights...

Not programmed for DStv changes

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PN Dish Mag39

Independent Newspaper Limited

The new format of the MultiChoice Dish magazine has left some viewers up in arms because of the omission of the full months programme listings. The company says it has discontinued printing the listings because they were outdated by the time they reached customers because of the magazines three-month lead time. Pictures: Oupa Mokoena

I see MultiChoice has given its “new technology-resistant” subscribers a small glimmer of hope that the company will backtrack on its unilateral decision to remove the full programme listings from its Dish magazine.

Scores of subscribers have written to newspapers about the disappearance of the listings from the monthly magazine, arguing that they don’t have the time or inclination – or the technology, in some cases – to access the programme listings the way MultiChoice wants them to – via their decoders, on the DStv website, social media or their cellphones.

Isobel Blake told Consumerwatch: “I find it totally unacceptable that one can no longer have the month’s programmes at a glance and be able to plan one’s viewing over the whole month.

“Important, too, is being able, every night, to browse through what is on offer without having to interrupt a programme to access the TV guide.

“There are many viewers… who do not have PVR, wide-screen TV sets and all the updated technology which MultiChoice… seems to think we all have.

Patricia Simon wrote: “My aunt, who is in her eighties, phoned me, very distressed, asking how she was going to know where her programmes are. Multichoice is causing a lot of anguish to its clients. Why did the company not ask us whether we wanted any changes? The people who work for it are all computer literate and have not thought very clearly about the make-up of (its) clients.”

Youth culture does indeed rule, and while it could be argued that we all need to move with the times when it comes to technology, those paying for a service should be given the option of sourcing the information relating to that paid service in the way in which they are most comfortable.

So while many service providers prefer to cut down on costs of sending out monthly statements – dressed up as concern for the environment, of course – those who still prefer a hard-copy statement to be sent via snail mail must be accommodated.

MultiChoice claims that it stopped printing the programme listings in its magazine not to cut costs, but to do away with inaccurate information.

Because of the magazine’s three-month lead time, many of the listings were outdated by the time they reached the homes of subscribers, the company said.

Now the company is saying that in light of the complaints received, it will conduct a survey in the coming weeks, asking subscribers whether they would like to receive a printed version of the listings “even though there will still be inaccuracies in the listings”.

“Once we have received the feedback from this survey, we will determine the best route forward to resolve this to the satisfaction of our subscribers.”

As I said, that’s a teeny glimmer of hope for protesters.

Certainly more encouraging than the response that Blake received last Friday from a member of the DStv enquiries team: “Please be informed that the decision for the magazine layout to be changed it has be made,” she wrote.

“The EPG (electronic programme guide) is more accurate that the magazine, most of the time when the schedules were changed the magazine had already gone to print and we received a lot of complains regard incorrect schedule on the magazine.”

For Blake that added insult to injury.

“I am appalled that a note like this has been sent out without someone checking not only the content, but the grammar,” she said.

That’s another thing about the non-youth: they – or should I say we – don’t receive sloppy language well.


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