Tag Archives: Calvo Mawela

MultiChoice to add Netflix, Amazon

Pay TV company MultiChoice is set to add international streaming services Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to its DStv platform.

Calvo Mawela

With its recently released 2019/20 financial results, the pay TV company has shown growth in South Africa and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, adding roughly 900 000 DStv and GOtv subscribers.

Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice’s CEO, said: “We are pleased with our performance and the resilience we have demonstrated this year. Our healthy balance sheet positions us well to weather uncertainties in our markets going forward.

“We have long been a content aggregator and this is proof of our aggregator model at work, providing simplicity, choice and convenience for our customers. As our industry evolves, we believe that we are well positioned to benefit from both worlds – a large, growing pay TV market in Africa, as well as an emerging over-the-top opportunity, where our own OTT services and aggregation capabilities can drive success.

“MultiChoice has shown a 5% increase in subscriber growth in its 2019/20 financial year, taking its total pay TV subscriber base to 19.5 million households. South Africa still represents MultiChoice’s biggest and most powerful market, with 8.4 million pay TV households, while the rest of Africa combined represents 11.1 million households.”

Besides adding two global streaming services, MultiChoice is also getting ready to roll out its as-yet-unnamed ‘DStv dishless,’ stand-alone DStv streaming service that will mimic its existing direct-to-home  service but without the need for any installation.

With these additions, existing subscribers will have access to further streaming services through DStv, paying their monthly bill in local currency for the add-ons, lessening payment friction and providing one place for subscribers to find and watch content.

The company is also planning two new coproductions, Blood Psalms and Rogue; to launch four new local-content TV channels, including a new action-movie channel; and to further ramp up local content production in 2021.

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MultiChoice vows to back industry

Pay TV outfit MultiChoice Group has promised to support the local entertainment industry through this tumultuous time of the coronavirus pandemic.

Calvo Mawela

Calvo Mawela, CEO of MultiChoice, noted that as a result of the challenges faced by partners in the industry as well as challenges brought about by the pandemic with various sectors across the continent trying to adjust and find ways to deal with them, MultiChoice has decided to implement several measures, aimed at safeguarding the incomes of cast, crew, and creatives as well as the sustainability of production houses so as to steer the industry through this pandemic period.

He added that the company had set aside R80m to ensure that current productions are able to pay full salaries of cast, crew and creatives for the months of March and April, so as to keep the industry vibrant.

“We believe this to be critical for the industry and in our view this is simply the right thing to do. Our main concern is to ensure as much as possible that we secure the incomes of creatives, cast and crew over this period. We want to ensure that they and their families are not negatively impacted as work has come to a standstill,” said Mawela.

Furthermore, the group has committed to guarantee the incomes of freelancers in SuperSport productions, who are currently unable to work due to the suspension of sports and the national lockdown.

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MultiChoice unveils innovation fund

Pay TV company MultiChoice has launched an innovation fund aimed at helping small businesses in the video entertainment industry and technology sectors.

Calvo Mawela

An extension of MultiChoice’s existing enterprise development trust, established in 2012, the fund will enable innovators to bring their ideas and dreams to life.

Focusing on businesses led by young people and women, the new fund will address the gender gap and youth unemployment in South Africa while ensuring increased and sustained diversity and inclusion in industries such as tech, film and media. Part of the goal of the innovation fund is to expand on the 11 women-owned and four-youth-owned businesses it has already supported.

Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice group CEO, said: “The video entertainment industry and indeed the world as we know it is on a fascinating digital trajectory and we need to ensure we are ahead of the pack if the continent’s entertainment industry is going to continue to grow sustainably and be globally competitive.

“We anticipate that our innovation fund will spur original thinking and exciting new ideas that will lead to breakthrough moments for these growing entrepreneurs.”

According to MultiChoice, successful beneficiaries will be afforded relevant financial support tailored to the specific circumstances of each case.

“We want to partner with South Africa’s most exciting entrepreneurs, giving them the tools, skills and financial support to bring their original ideas to life,” Mawela added.

“We hope to help create cutting-edge solutions and competitive businesses that will shape the future of South Africa’s technology sector and the video entertainment industry. By investing in and developing entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas, MultiChoice is helping to shape the industries of the future.”

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Patel takes MultiChoice non-exec role

Imtiaz Patel, executive chair of African pay TV group MultiChoice, will be switching to a non-executive role in October 2020.

Imtiaz Patel

The announcement was made shortly after MultiChoice revealed it had added 1.2 million active subscribers in the first half of 2019 and had also upped its operating profit to R4.9bn (US$328m) from R4.1bn in the previous period.

MultiChoice said Calvo Mawela, the group’s current CEO, will assume “full executive responsibility” after Patel’s move.

Patel joined MultiChoice subsidiary SuperSport in 1999 and in March 2005 was appointed CEO.

He was named group CEO of MultiChoice South Africa in 2010. In October 2015, he became CEO of video entertainment for parent company Naspers and then MultiChoice executive chairman early this year.

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SuperSport, SABC sign PSL deal

MultiChoice’s SuperSport and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) have signed a five-year deal giving the latter free-to-air rights to South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Calvo Mawela

Discussing the deal, sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa said: “Our duty is to deliver on our promises and resolve issues raised by our people.

“Thus, I am happy to announce that all parties have concluded an agreement on commercial terms with the SABC allowing them to broadcast Premier Soccer League matches on television for our people.

“I would like to thank all the participants – MultiChoice‚ the PSL and the SABC – for their positive approach which ensures that ordinary South Africans are able to access football in our country. We recognise the importance of sport, and in this instance football, in promoting national cohesion and commend all stakeholders involved.”

PSL chairman Irvin Khoza expressed his satisfaction over the willingness of the sports ministers and SABC to facilitate a commercial agreement that ensures the sustainability of the PSL as one of the top 10 football leagues in the world.

MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela added: “We remain committed to the long-term investment in sports in South Africa and the rest of Africa. In the previous financial year, MCG invested over R2.3bn in sports on the continent.

“An important element of the investment is in sports broadcasting and sponsorship rights, which provide critical revenue streams for sports bodies that filter down to every tier and have an undeniable impact on the development of sport.”

SABC Group CEO Madoda Mxakwe said: “In line with our public mandate, we are pleased to have reached an agreement in the interest of the South African public. Most importantly, this commercially viable deal is aligned to the goal of having a financially sustainable public broadcaster.

“The SABC will continue to discharge its public mandate in a manner which is not only sustainable for the organisation, but ensures that the South African public have access to sports of national interest such as the PSL.”

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Date set for MultiChoice JSE listing

Naspers, one of the largest technology investors in the world, will list it’s pay TV unit MultiChoice on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) on February 27.

Bob van Dijk

The company includes MultiChoice South Africa, MultiChoice Africa and Showmax. Naspers originally announced its intention to list last September.

The move means Naspers shareholders will now hold a direct interest in MultiChoice rather than through Africa’s most valuable company.

Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk said: “Listing MultiChoice Group via an unbundling aims to unlock value for Naspers shareholders and at the same time create an empowered, top-40-JSE-listed African entertainment company.

“With strong financials, the flexibility of an ungeared balance sheet and deep local knowledge, we hope to deliver excellent returns to shareholders over time,” added group CEO Calvo Mawela.

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MultiChoice calls for Netflix rules

Africa’s largest pay TV operator MultiChoice has called for regulations to be imposed on Netflix as it blames the US-based streaming service for the subscriber losses it has suffered since 2017.

As a result of Netflix’s popularity among African viewers, pay TV companies MultiChoice and StarTimes are experiencing serious challenges to their business models and revenue streams.

In a recent report by Quartz Africa, Calvo Mawela, CEO of MultiChoice, said his company had lost over 140,000 subscribers to Netflix, including 100,000 in the past financial year. The streaming service, he said, is also free from any affirmative action regulations, which gives the US firm a major advantage.

Even though pay TV companies are already competing with local streaming platforms like Iroko, Netflix’s plan to focus more on Nollywood and African content is set to create another area of competition for these companies in 2019.

Calvo Mawela

Netflix’s VP of international originals Erik Barmack told C21Media’s Content London conference in November that the streamer’s European team is “in the process of looking at opportunities in Africa. It’s definitely the case that we’ll commission some series there in 2019.”

In an article by Business Insider magazine, Netflix said: “The company is following Nollywood closely and focusing more on content. There are no plans to have a physical office in Nigeria. We are following the local industry closely and focusing more on content rather than physical presence.”

While pay TV companies work on having better streaming services and pricey data plans, Netflix has deployed a dedicated server in Nigeria in partnership with Spectranet in order to have a secure connection for its Nigerian audiences and also provide customers in Nigeria with a better video-streaming performance.

Despite the fact Nigerian movies such as Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart, Kunle Afolayan’s October 1st and Biyi Bandele’s Fifty are available on Netflix, thus creating competition in the Nigerian market, all hope is not lost for MultiChoice. The South African company still has three of its indigenous African Magic stations on DSTV, namely Africa Magic Yoruba, Africa Magic Hausa and Africa Magic Igbo.

Although the competition would impact viewers across Nigeria, perhaps leading to possible lower subscription fees for streaming and TV content packages, it will now be a fight between four major contenders: MultiChoice, StarTimes, Iroko and Netflix.

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MultiChoice exec team reshuffled

Naspers, one of the largest technology investors in the world, has announced the new executive leadership team for its MultiChoice Group.

Imtiaz Patel

The new execs include Calvo Mawela as group CEO, Imtiaz Patel as executive chairman, Tim Jacobs as chief financial officer and Brand de Villiers as chief operating officer. The appointments will take effect on November 1.

Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk said: “This announcement marks a significant step for the MultiChoice Group as they journey towards a stand-alone business. I am confident that through the leadership of Imtiaz and Calvo, MultiChoice Group will continue on its growth trajectory and unlock even more value for its shareholders.”

Calvo said: “I am incredibly excited to lead our team of highly capable executives through this new and exciting chapter for our company. Our leadership team is diverse, experienced and well-positioned to grow our position as the leading entertainment company on the African continent.

Calvo Mawela

“There are significant growth opportunities for MultiChoice Group in Africa. The combination of MultiChoice’s reach, Showmax and DStv Now’s cutting-edge internet television service, alongside Irdeto’s 360 security suite will provide a unique offering.”

On September 17, Naspers had made its intention to separately list its video entertainment business on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and will include MultiChoice South Africa, MultiChoice Africa, Showmax Africa and Irdeto.

MultiChoice Group is one of the fastest growing pay TV operators in the world and its multi-platform business reaches 13.5 million households across Africa.

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