Multichoice disclosed that is has grown the number of pay-television subscribers on its books in the past year although the pressure on prices in the weak economy coupled with low currencies strength in its key operating markets, has squeezed margins.
Naspers, Multichoice’s parent company, described the performance of the video entertainment segment in South Africa as “satisfactory”, despite tough economic conditions. Net subscriber growth was the highest ever over a six-month period, it said. It achieved “modest” overall growth compared to “significant churn” in the 2016 financial year. A value strategy was successful at expanding the business over the long term,” Naspers said about the video entertainment business broadly. The growth came mainly from middle-tier and lower-end bouquets. Naspers said its streaming service, DSTV Now, gained “excellent traction”. DStv Now expanded its range of linear streaming channels to over 60.
The bouquet was restructured and it was all about the reduction of non-performing content, keeping subscription prices steady in key markets, better customer focus and retention, reducing set-top-box prices and rightsizing operations. MultiChoice said to have added 935 000 satellite pay-TV homes, compared to just 38 000 in the 2016 financial year. In total, 597 000 digital terrestrial television (DTT) subscribers were added to the base, bringing the combines closing base, both DTT and satellite, to 11.9 million households at year end.
“The DTT business continued to grow, despite analogue switch-offs not being mandated as anticipated. Development of the DTT content offering and improved retention capabilities contributed to solid growth over the year,” Naspers declared, GOtv, MultiChoice’s DTT go-to-market brand, had just over three million subscribers at year-end.