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MultiChoice reaches 22.1m households

MultiChoice Group achieved solid subscriber growth and steady earnings for the half-year ended September 30, according to the African entertainment company.

Calvo Mawela

The group’s linear pay TV subscriber base (measured on a 90-day active basis) increased by one million (5%) to 22.1 million households, comprising 9.1 million (41%) in South Africa and 13 million (59%) in the rest of Africa (RoA).

The year-on-year (YoY) growth rate for paying subscribers on the company’s streamer Showmax was 50%, while the overall online user base increased by 13%. Actual subs numbers for Showmax were not disclosed.

RoA maintained its growth trajectory on the back of successful local content productions, MultiChoice said. In South Africa, growth rates recovered during the second half of the reporting period despite evidence of rising consumer pressure.

In terms of the local content strategy, the company launched two more local channels in sub-Saharan Africa and produced another 3,084 hours of local content, an increase of 15% YoY. Accounting for 48% of total general entertainment spend, this ongoing investment in local content brought the total content library to around 73,000 hours.

In Nigeria, a new season of Big Brother Naija delivered record viewership, as well as strong growth in advertising revenues. In South Africa, the group produced two coproductions – Blood Psalms and Girl, Taken – with another seven coproductions in the pipeline.

Reyka, an original coproduction from South Africa, was nominated for the Drama Series prize at the International Emmy Awards 2022.

The group is currently producing the epic original drama series Shaka Ilembe, which will be broadcast during 2023 and is already receiving significant international interest. It also continues to roll out adaptations of popular telenovelas in different regions, such as 1Magic’s The River, which has been successfully adapted as Kina in Kenya and O Rio in Angola.

Showmax further localised its business with more local content such as Real Housewives of Lagos, Troukoors S2, Uthando Lodumo S2, Diiche and Steinheist.

In terms of financials, MultiChoice Group revenue was up ZAR1.8bn (US$104m) to ZAR28.6bn, and trading profit amounted to ZAR6.1bn – up 6% despite a ZAR700m investment in new decoders ahead of the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

“After a slower-than-usual start to the year, with global fuel and food price shocks negatively impacting consumer sentiment, our business regained momentum due to our engaging local content slate and strong local capabilities,” said Calvo Mawela, CEO of MultiChoice Group.

“Despite the challenging macro-economic environment, we are well positioned given our exciting content slate. In the second half of the financial year, a core focus will be the broadcasting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and producing more local content that resonates with our customers. Going forward, we will look for more opportunities to grow beyond pay television.”

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