MultiChoice Group (MCG), the operator of DStv has published its financial results for the year ended March 2021, showing that it grew its 90-day active subscriber base by 1.4 million over the period, to 20.9 million.
“This represents a 2% acceleration in year on year (YoY) growth to 7%, as heightened consumer demand for video entertainment services, continued penetration of the mass market and an easing of electricity shortages in southern Africa improved growth rates,” it said.
The 90-day subscriber base is split between 11.9 million subscribers (57%) in the Rest of Africa (RoA) and 8.9 million (43%) in South Africa.
Multichoice said it continues to see ‘good momentum’ into the new reporting year. “We are seeing the advertising business recover, we have plans to further enhance our entertainment ecosystem, and we look forward to an exceptional slate of local content and the meaningful return of sport as we catch up on the events missed in FY21.
“We are, however, cognisant of ongoing consumer pressure in what remains an uncertain Covid-19 environment, continued macroeconomic volatility in our markets, and the need to absorb deferred content costs in FY22,” it said.
Multichoice said that its South African business held up well in a tough consumer climate, delivering subscriber growth of 6% YoY or 500,000 subscribers on a 90-day active basis.
“The impact of Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns saw consumers prioritise video services, but a lack of live sport, combined with the inability of commercial subscribers to trade, negatively impacted revenue generation, especially early in the financial year,” it said.
Revenue increased 1% to R34.3 billion despite lower advertising and commercial subscriber revenue.
Revenue growth was supported by healthy subscriber growth in the middle and mass market, and the uplift from annual price increases. This was negated by a lower average Premium subscriber base, mainly attributed to the lack of live sport for part of the financial year.
Together with the ongoing shift in subscriber mix towards the mass market and challenges faced in terms of commercial subscribers, this resulted in the monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) declining 4% from R290 to R277.
While Multichoice does not provide a breakdown of ARPU by DStv package, it does provide a breakdown per segment:
- Mass-market – R95 a month
- Mid-market – R301 a month
- Premium – R580 a month
Supersport and streaming
Multichoice said that SuperSport had to contend with no live sport in the first half of the financial year and nimbly adapted by changing channel line-ups, by broadcasting documentaries and showcasing sporting movies to keep subscribers entertained.
“Highlights for the year included renewing the English Premier League (2025) and UEFA Champions League (2024) rights, securing exclusive continental rights for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the blockbuster start to the group’s live documentary journey with the hugely popular Chasing the Sun.”
The group said that connected video users on the DStv app and Showmax continue to grow as online consumption increases.
During the year Showmax launched Showmax Pro, the group’s first standalone online sport offering, as well as DStv Streaming, which allows customers to subscribe to an online-only service.
“Local content is also proving to be a key differentiator on Showmax, with local content viewership up significantly this year, and four of the top five titles on Showmax being local productions,” it said.
“A record number of Showmax originals were launched during the year, including the first Kenyan and Nigerian original series.